April 3, 2021 – There have been innumerable adaptations and spinoffs of the ground breaking Sherlock Holmes mysteries, which date back to the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887. Among all the TV and movie adaptations and spinoffs, however, you'd be hard pressed to find another example that is more lighthearted and fun to watch than “Enola Holmes,” from Netflix.
I noticed the title and description of Enola Holmes in a list of the best movies of 2020 that I read online recently, and it sounded intriguing. Shortly after that, I finally got around to watching it. I had not heard of The Enola Holmes Mysteries written by Nancy Springer, upon which this movie is based, nor had I seen the TV series, “Stranger Things,” featuring teenage actress Millie Bobby Brown, who plays the title character in this movie.
In fact, I don't even recall seeing Millie Bobby Brown in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”) but I'll not forget her outstanding performance in “Enola Holmes.” She's strong, funny, and thoroughly dominates every scene she is in. She seems to be having fun with the audience as she frequently breaks the fourth wall while narrating the story.
Enola Holmes is the younger sister of Sherlock (played by Henry Cavill, who plays Superman in several recent films, including “Man of Steel”) and Mycroft Holmes (played by Sam Claflin, who appeared in three of the Hunger Games movies).
Enola's mother, Eudoria (played by Helena Bonham Carter, a regular in the Harry Potter movies) suddenly disappears, leaving Enola alone. Sherlock and Mycroft decide that Enola is a rough tomboy, lacking in the proper social graces, so Mycroft has her shipped off to a finishing school run by a friend, Miss Harrison (Fiona Shaw of the Harry Potter movies).
Predictably, Enola escapes and heads off to London to find her mother, who has become active in a possibly violent feminist organization. Eudoria left behind several suitably clever clues for Enola to follow, including a hidden envelope with lots of money to support her during her search.
On the train to London, she meets a young man on the run, with the ridiculous title of Viscount Tewkesbury, the Marquess of Basilwether (played by Louis Partridge of “Paddington 2”). Tewkesbury is being pursued by Linthorn (Burn Gorman of the “Pacific Rim” movies) an extremely determined and resourceful hired assassin.
Enola becomes sidetracked from her attempt to find her mother and becomes consumed with trying to find out who wants Tewkesbury dead and why. She is attracted to him and decides that solving these two mysteries is the only way to ensure his safety.
The story is not just a whodunit, but an adventure with explosions, gunfire, and personal combat scenes. There is even a car escape (in which Enola drives what appears to be a replica of the automobile patented by Carl Friedrich Benz in 1886, close to the time period in which this movie is set).
This movie is an enjoyable romp, dominated by the sparkling personality of Enola, ably supported by the rest of the cast, including Frances de la Tour (“Hugo”) who plays the key role of the Dowager, Tewkesbury's grandmother.
Director Harry Bradbeer uses playful graphics and inventive storytelling techniques which add a lot to the light, enjoyable tone of this film. Editor Adam Bosman uses many quick flashbacks to explain the back story and put events into context without making the movie overlong. Overall, this film is a very pleasant surprise. It rates a B.
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