Enola Holmes Movie Review: A charming character tries to propel a not-so-charming film

Enola Holmes, the film based on Nancy Springer’s series of books, begins with much vitality. The eponymous protagonist, the most anonymous of the three Holmes siblings, is a teenager speeding on her bike through the lush fields of Victorian England, as composer Daniel Pemberton captures her spirit through his track, Wild Child. Even without Enola having to break the fourth wall, her energy and cheer come through. It further helps that the actor Millie Bobby Brown—who you may know for playing Eleven from Stranger Things—plays this character with plenty of abandon and while another actor may have come across as being almost corny with all the fourth-wall-breaking, it is much credit to her that she sells it all with conviction and an infectiously sunny persona. The role of Enola Holmes should cement the actor’s ability to be at the centre of a film and hold it together, all by herself. We learn quite early that the character, Enola, is a spirited, sensitive girl in the mould of her mother, Eudoria Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter, who could play these eccentric characters in her sleep). As is the case with the Sherlockian universe, no sooner do we begin to learn about Enola than we are hurtled into a mysterious case. Here, it concerns two disappearances—one of Eudoria and the other of a marquess.

Director: Harry Bradbeer
Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Louis Partridge, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter, Sam Claflin
Streaming on: Netflix

Enola Holmes is what you would get if you added liberal dosages of feminism into a Sherlock Holmes case, a rather underwhelming one at that. The feminism in this film is not just admirable for intent but also for how seamlessly it’s woven into the Holmes investigation at the centre of this film. Despite this paean to womanhood being sung from start to finish in this film, not for a minute does it feel forced. It begins when Enola is raised by a woman in rebellion against the suppressive rules of a Victorian society. Enola goes on to understand her mother better and even herself better as she struggles to belong in a system that ridicules her for her bosom size and condemns her to education—read imprisonment—so she can learn how to become worthy of a male partner.

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For the remainder of this column (and there’s a lot more left, I assure you), visit https://www.cinemaexpress.com/reviews/english/2020/sep/23/enola-holmes-movie-reviewa-charming-character-tries-to-propel-a-not-so-charming-film-20400.html

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