A two hour film.
Enola Holmes is an interesting film, both in the movie itself and its making. It’s a title that the Conan Doyle estate has done everything in its power to try to prevent from airing, and one that has set the internet asmoke (that’s a less intense version of ablaze) with complaints about how feminists are once again ruining media. But is Enola Holmes a movie about how men are always stupid and evil and women are always smart and good? Probably not. Let’s dive in.
Enola Holmes is a two hour Netflix film directed by Harry Bradbeer who you may recognize from his work on…well that’s not important. It is based off of the Nancy Springer novels and stars Millie Bobby Brown as the titular Enola Holmes. When Enola’s mother (Helena Bonham Carter) disappears one day, Enola finds herself following a trail of coded messages on a trip across England to find her.
Eudoria Holmes is presented as a free spirited woman in a world where women are expected to act as proper ladies. She of course raised Enola to be the same kind of free spirited woman who doesn’t own gloves or have a desire for a husband. Eudoria is also a character invented for the Enola Holmes stories as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never went into Sherlock’s family outside of Mycroft.
Along the way she meets Viscount Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge) as a runaway who we learn isn’t quite the boy he presents himself as. Enola takes a detour on her mission to save her mother in order to save Tewkesbury as someone is trying to kill him and he isn’t strong enough to save himself. Tewkesbury, like Enola, is much more than he seems.
Hot on Enola’s tail are her brothers Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft Holmes (Sam Claflin) as well as Inspector Lestrade (Adeel Akhtar). All three are as intelligent and crafty as you would expect given their characters in the books. Sherlock is portrayed as more sympathetic to Enola mostly bred out of guilt over his abandonment of her and their mother. Mycroft is portrayed as more of a self-absorbed prick although he never goes as deep as becoming a true villain. He mostly acts out of self-interest which is in line with his character in the stories.
Enola isn’t without her faults as while she is very book smart she knows little of the real world. She is also a sixteen year old girl who despite being capable in martial arts is built like a sixteen year old girl. In short she won’t be matching grown men in hand to hand combat. There’s a lot of heartwarming moments as the film flashes back to Enola with her mother as a child and we see how Enola became the well-learned woman she is in the present.
The ultimate villain is quite the surprise and I won’t spoil it here. A lot of the story of this movie revolves around the womens suffrage movement. At two hours it does drag on, but the payoff is ultimately worth the wait. It also sets the stage for a whole series which director Harry Bradbeer has expressed interest in.