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Enola Holmes (2020)


Enola Holmes is Sherlock and Mycroft’s younger sister. This Netflix original is filled with actors from the Netflix stable. Millie Bobby Brown, of Stranger Things' fame, is Enola Holmes. Henry Cavill is Sherlock, Sam Claflin is Mycroft, Helena Bonham Carter is Eudoria, their mother. Louis Partridge plays Tewkesbury, the heir to a seat in the House of Lords just before a critical vote on expanding voting writes to women in England.

Millie Bobby Brown plays Eleven in Stranger Things, an androgynous female character. She leverages those same skills as Enola Holmes to masquerade as a man several times. It is a clever use of skills she has already mastered. Her mother, Eudoria, is very eccentric, a perfect role for Bonham Carter who played Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter franchise. Her frantic delivery is on the safe side of unhinged this time around as she is a female revolutionary in secret.

Unlike most Sherlock Holmes films, the London of Enola Holmes is bright, colorful, and clean. This isn’t the dingy or seedy London we have been treated to in many other Holmes productions. The movie bounces between London and the countryside a lot. It is often hard to follow the timeline as Enola goes to and from the city at warp speed. The passage of time is never well communicated.

A choice was made to communicate clues through word jumbles and ciphers. Enola is a transpose of alone; the movie loves to rely on word jumbles like these. It gets repetitive, especially when CGI of scrabble tiles is used over and over again. Sherlock Holmes, historically, uses observation and deductive reasoning, Enola seems to be given well-packaged clues with a single method to decipher them.

The film feels like a set-up for a series. I hope that works out, there are questions about the public domain use of a kinder and more caring Sherlock Holmes that may prevent that from happening. If Netflix is going to package some big stars together and this is the product we get, I am quite happy. This is a fun movie for the entire family and I hope to see more of Enola Holmes in the future.

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