Movie Review: “Enola Holmes”

A still from Netflix film “Enola Holmes”

“Enola Holmes,” Netflix’s new family feature is clever and charming. Full of familiar faces with a fresh storyline, audiences fall in love with Enola, the 16-year-old heroine and sleuth solver giving her brother Sherlock a run for his money.

On her 16th birthday, Enola wakes to find that her mother is missing, leaving behind odd gifts but no obvious clues. When her brothers Mycroft and Sherlock attempt to send her away to a finishing school to become a proper lady, she runs away to find her mother in London. But when her escape becomes entangled with a runaway lord, Enola becomes a sleuth, outwitting her famous brother.

“Enola Holmes” is based on the young adult series “The Enola Holmes Mysteries” by Nancy Springer. There are six books in the series giving room for the film to have a sequel or two. While the film is a fantastic stand-alone, the prospect of more book adaptations of the series or a new line of mystery altogether is an exciting one. 

The cast of the film is full of familiar faces with a few new standouts. Millie Bobby Brown, best known for her performance as Eleven in the hit series “Stranger Things,” carries the film expertly as Enola Holmes, but she also produced the film. Her performance is backed by Henry Cavill – known for his role as Superman – as Sherlock Holmes and Sam Claflin – Finnick from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” – as Mycroft Holmes. Helena Bonham Carter – known for her role as Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter series – is a wonderful addition as Enola’s mother, Eudoria Holmes. There is a new face in Louis Partridge who plays Enola’s love interest, Tewkesbury. 

The cast itself is amazing and makes the film one worth watching if you are a fan of any of the actors’ previous works. But what really makes the performances stand out is the chemistry between the characters. Carter and Brown are the mother-daughter duo I didn’t know I needed but was one of my favorite parts of the film. Despite their dysfunctionality, the Holmes family is a charming one that was fun to watch on screen. The romance between Enola and Tewkesbury was a sweet and funny one, their chemistry somewhat off the charts. 

The film was gorgeous to watch from the aesthetics of the sets and scenery of 19th century London to the intricate period costumes. The film was immersive with the Holmes house almost acting as a character of its own. The details of the house were exquisite and quirky, a perfect fit for a family like the Holmes’. The costumes, Enola’s especially, were beautiful and shaped the image of the characters perfectly. 

As someone who loves the tales of Sherlock Holmes, I was extremely excited for a fresh take on this time-old story, and it more than lived up to my expectations. “Enola Holmes” has a feminist core but one that was light and refreshing. This movie isn’t about a young damsel but about a strong young woman finding her own right in her own way. Set in an age where women didn’t even have the right to vote in England, the women in this film are strong, with Enola coming into her own with the skills her mother taught her, like combat fighting instead of embroidery.

“Enola Holmes” is a family movie at its core, but it’s one that is worth watching. It’s upbeat and entertaining with a romance that I was fully on board with. The characters and the writing were some of the best I’ve seen from Netflix in their movies, and it kept me on board the entire time. This is not your next date night movie. However, if you are ever looking for something lighthearted and fun, “Enola Holmes” would be a great one to try. And if you asked me if I recommend this movie, the answer would be full-heartedly yes. 


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