Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Helena Bonham Carter and Lewis Partridge.
Directed by Harry Bradbeer
Written by Jack Thorne (Screenplay) and Nancy Springer (book)
Enola Holmes is Sherlock’s little-known rebellious younger sister, invented in 2006 by author Nancy Springer. Played by the young force that is Millie Bobby Brown, Enola has grown up in the countryside with her mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), homeschooled in science, literature and martial arts. But when Eudoria disappears, Enola sets about finding her mother (with the assistance of certain clues) and stumbles into a grand plot which asks our lead to use the skills that she’s developed throughout her childhood; a task challenging enough without her older brothers, both Sherlock and Mycroft, returning home and taking charge. Sherlock being somewhat sympathetic and perhaps amused by his young sibling, while Mycroft insists that she should be a young lady and immediately enrols her in a stuffy boarding school run by a Dickensian headmistress (Fiona Shaw). All of this coincides with a conspiracy to kidnap a young aristocrat and the fight for women’s rights…
Jack Thorne has adapted the first volume in Springers award-winning series of books to create this film for Netflix and there’s a whole lot to take in, arguably too much. This story would have perhaps been better suited to a mini-series but I’m not sure they would have secured their cast had it not been intended for a feature length production. Emmy winner Harry Bradbeer brings an infectious energy to the story by having Enola break the fourth wall from the beginning with amusingly self-aware asides, a choice that suits the film and character but was potentially overused.
Millie Bobby Brown has a nice, easygoing way with the material, cheekily outpacing her famous brother Sherlock played by the brilliant Henry Cavill who presents a totally fresh take on the famous detective. There’s a really nice balance of having Sherlock as a presence that pops up throughout the film without taking any of the shine away from Enola which is enhanced by the steely grit and determination her character. Sam Claflin’s Mycoft is a somewhat cartoonish character who literally gets a moustache to twirl as he snootily attempts to put his family’s affairs in order.
Enola Holmes is a really easy watch, it’s one of the best family films I’ve seen in a while. It’s fast paced, busy and has some amusing moments. Whilst still full of that famous Holmes problem solving, it highlights women suffrage, the importance of fighting for what you believe in and using your voice. It’s not a film that will change your world, but it’s a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours and escape reality for a short time.