Movie Review: Enola Holmes

By: Young Kim 

Everyone has heard of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes due to the countless reproductions of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, but even lifetime fans have probably never heard of Enola Holmes. First written in 2006 by Nancy Springer, the Enola Holmes novels follow Enola Holmes, the 14 year old sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. A new production created through a collaboration between Legendary Pictures and PCMA Productions, results in the retelling of the first book of Springer’s rendition of Enola Holmes: The Case of the Missing Marquess. 

The story follows Enola Holmes, played by Millie Bobby Brown, in the year 1884 on her journey to find her mother who had mysteriously disappeared on her 16th birthday. The audience is introduced to old faces such as Sherlock Holmes, played by Henry Cavill, and Mycroft Holmes, played by Sam Claffin, who are called upon at the request of their mother who has entrusted the responsibility of taking care of Enola to them, specifically to Mycroft. While Enola wants to find her mother again, Mycroft, the oldest of the family, believes that she should be sent to a boarding school so she may be educated as a 19th century lady. Despite her brother’s wishes Enola sneaks off with clues given to her by her mother before her disappearance in order to solve the mystery. 

The movie focuses on topics such as the women’s suffrage movement and the beginnings of a progressive thinking generation. While women are constantly looked down upon to be “proper” and “fit” for the societal standards of the time period, the movie attempts to show Enola’s journey of individualism and finding her place in a world dominated by conservative standards created by men. There is also an aspect of a coming of age movie as Enola goes off on her own, surviving purely on the teachings of her mother. The viewers are constantly wondering where this journey will lead Enola and the audience, who are creatively integrated into the storytelling through the breaking of the fourth wall by Enola to narrate her thoughts and deductions. 

Throughout her journey, Enola quickly realizes that life outside of her home with her mother is much scarier than she originally thought. Despite this, she meets Viscount Tewksbury, played by Louis Partridge, who she discovers to share many similarities with her. Their friendship evolves throughout the story as they both succumb to the idea of going against the societal norms placed upon them. The audience is left constantly wondering how their friendship will evolve as their stories become intertwined. 

The overall movie does a decent job of compressing the original novel into a shorter two hour version and incorporates the Sherlock-esque storytelling through Enola’s perspective. The movie takes the viewer on a ride trying to decipher the clues themselves and wondering what these clues may uncover. 

Will Enola Holmes find her mother? Why did her mother leave? How will Enola overcome the societal barriers standing between her and the truth? These are all questions that can only be answered by watching Enola Holmes, available on Netflix.