Enola Holmes Movie Review: Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill deliver an engaging and empowering film

Enola Holmes releases on Netflix today. The film has Millie Bobby Brown in the titular role while Henry Cavill fills in the large shoes of Sherlock Holmes. Before streaming the film, check out the review to see what you can expect from it.

Updated on Sep 24, 2020   |  03:14 PM IST  |  1.6M
Millie Bobby Brown in and as Enola Holmes
Enola Holmes Movie Review: Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill deliver an engaging and empowering film

Movie Name: Enola Holmes

Enola Holmes Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Adeel Akhtar, Fiona Shaw, Frances de la Tour, Louis Partridge, Susie Wokoma and Helena Bonham Carter

Enola Holmes Director: Harry Bradbeer

Enola Holmes Rating: 3.5/5

The last time a sense of empowerment and overwhelm filled me, I was walking out of Wonder Woman. The Gal Gadot superhero movie served as a lesson in how should feminist flagbearers be treated on the big screen. Today, as I watched the end credits of Enola Holmes appear on the screen, the emotion returned. Netflix's new film brings to life Sherlock Holmes's little-known detective sister Enola. Essayed by Millie Bobby Brown, the mystery drama sees Henry Cavill in the shoes of Sherlock while Sam Claflin plays Mycroft Holmes and Helena Bonham Carter plays the Holmes siblings' mother Eudoria Holmes. 

Based on the eponymous book series penned by Nancy Springer, Enola Holmes explores the early years of the detective and is set in the 1880s. As the trailer previously revealed, the eccentric Enola is abandoned by her mother on her 16th birthday, and her long-lost brothers Sherlock and Mycroft return to help her. But instead of embracing her with all her quirks, they push her into becoming more "lady-like", forcing her through finishing school. 

The strong-willed teenager, however, discovers a trail of clues her mother leaves behind and before you know it, she is off to London. But her plans take a beating when she crosses paths with Viscount Lord Tewksbury, played by the handsome Louis Partridge. As their paths cross and part, Enola experiences a series of adventures, featuring the case of her missing mother, the motive behind Tewksbury's death and a journey of self-discovery. Does she crack the case open? Does she reunite with her mother? Does Enola find herself? Watch the movie to find out. 

What I will tell you though is that Enola Holmes is a well-made film. Not only does it build on the mystery series, but also cleverly draws parallels with the ongoing fight against patriarchy, discrimination, and gender stereotypes. Harry Bradbeer, who has been the master teller behind Fleabag and Killing Eve, narrates this tale with the spotlight focused on Enola. The pace keeps you hooked, feature films have been lacking lately, while constantly throwing clues at the audience to piece together, until finally the expert himself solves the mystery in the second half. 

Bradbeer might pace the story faster than the book, like most adaptations, but doesn't deviate from the series. To keep the experience closer to the book, the director adopts his tried and tested Fleabag method of breaking the fourth wall to help the lead character tell her own story and it works wonders for the film. The film's dialogues are witty and might bring back memories of Fleabag but it is fresh and resonates well with the time period that the movie belongs to. Bradbeer is supported by an impressive performance by Millie. The actress sheds her reserved Stranger Things character, Eleven, to have fun with Enola. Shouldering the movie with required support from Cavill and Carter, Millie's energy, glee, anger, helplessness and sadness, light up the scenes. 


From one Holmes to another, Cavill was his charming self in the movie. His Sherlock didn't borrow from Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch's earlier portrayals. But will I want to watch a Cavill-led Sherlock series? Honestly, he wouldn't make a great Holmes. Meanwhile, another on-screen Holmes essayed well was of Eudoria Holmes. Carter slipped into Enola's mother's shoes with ease, as though it was penned for her. Partridge as Tewksbury is like the cookies served with the delicious tea. He is overshadowed by Millie on several occasions but is sweet to the eye. 

This review would be incomplete without the mention of the costume, music and cinematography. The authentic craftsmanship and colour tone of outfits used in the movie transports you to the era of the Holmes. The set up is elevated by brilliant cinematography. Be it the luscious forests of the country, the shambles of London or the small yet colourful kitchen that acts as a front for ju-jitsu classes, Giles Nuttgens captures every detail, bringing the pages of the book to life. There are scenes where I wished the movie had premiered on the big screen. As for the music, Daniel Pemberton adds the finishing touches to this masterpiece with his background score. 

Enola Holmes has set the ball rolling for Netflix for a possible Holmes franchise featuring Millie in the lead. Will Netflix bite? We never know. But it is a good bet if they do. 

Verdict: Enola Holmes passes the Bechdel test gloriously! Enola Holmes should be watched by men, women and everyone who loves feminist stories. She will not disappoint! P.S. Sorry, Sherlock, but there might be a new favourite Holmes on the block. 


ALSO READ: Millie Bobby Brown opens up about dealing with anxiety, what her film Enola Holmes taught her & more

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