Netflix’s “Enola Holmes” is captivating and lighthearted

Photo couresy of Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Set in 19th century England, “Enola Holmes” is a captivating story about the path towards independence for the younger sister of the Holmes brothers. Based on the series written by Nancy Springer and directed by Harry Bradbeer, the Netflix original movie is riveting and truly keeps the viewer engaged throughout its entire runtime of two hours and three minutes.  

Enola, portrayed by the enchanting Millie Bobby Brown, best known for her role as Eleven in the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” consistently broke the fourth wall, looking towards and speaking to the audience. This technique was a clever bonus, creating the feel that the viewer was along for the ride. This, in addition to Enola’s bright and spunky demeanor, made it difficult to take focus away from the movie.

After the sudden disappearance of her mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), Enola is left behind, becoming the ward of her eldest brother Mycroft (Sam Claflin). Enola, desperate to avoid attending the finishing school run by Miss Harrison (Fiona Shaw), sets off on an adventure with only the money and clues her mother left for her to find.

Almost immediately into her journey, Enola meets the young Viscount Tewkesbury, the Marquess of Basilwether (Louis Partridge). Going against her mother’s advice to “paint your own picture” and to not let others throw her off course, she decides to put off the search for her mother and help him survive. Doing so brings about additional challenges, surprising twists and the hints of teen romance.

Enola’s brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill), is a role model for her, as she clearly looks up to him and follows in his investigative footsteps. Sherlock, a famous detective, is very impressed with her drive, spirit and potential. Despite this, Sherlock backs down, allowing Mycroft to have full say over Enola most of the movie, though there is a sweet turn of events at the end. Whilst searching for their missing mother, Sherlock learns of the ventures and whereabouts of Enola, leading the rest of the movie towards suspense and adventure.

Women’s suffrage and politics are pivotal themes in this film, truly developing the depth of the storyline. Enola refused to fit the mold that was expected of women in these days, and she dauntlessly fought for her freedom from oppression. She did this against the wishes of her brother, who stated that she had “no hope of making a husband” being the way she was.

“Enola Holmes” is a delightful story about the younger Holmes sister we didn’t know existed, but now we can’t forget. Having watched hundreds of shows and films over the last few months, I was cautious with my expectations. The fun and light energy coursing throughout this movie was palpable, leaving me to be a very satisfied viewer. With everything going on in the world, it is a relief to have such a lighthearted movie grace the Netflix service. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend watching this movie!

5/5 stars

 

dbreheny@ramapo.edu