Enola Holmes Netflix Review: Sherlock Has a Little Sister?

Enola Holmes Netflix Review: Sherlock Has a Little Sister?

We've all heard of Sherlock Holmes, but this newest entry from Netflix follows a newly-minted little sister, Enola, trying to follow in her brother's footsteps

As someone who's been a fan of A. Conan Doyle's work for all of my life, I can firmly attest that he never mentioned that Sherlock Holmes had a sister. Yet that's precisely the premise for Netflix's two-hour-long tour through the early 20th century in England. We find a magnificently empowered young woman (heavy on the independence with a side of headstrong willfulness, if you please) who purports to be the sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. As a reader of Doyle's work, I am a little unhappy to see an author co-opting the venerable author's characters for her own ends. Doyle's estate seems to be of a similar view. It has filed suit against both Netflix and Nancy Springer, the author of the original works, alleging that the results infringe on the final ten unreleased Holmes stories, showing him as a more human character.

Despite Its Subject Matter, It's Not a Bad Movie

Based on Netflix's tendencies to pander to a particular political direction in their latest works, this production isn't so terrible. There are moments where you are left wondering why some of the elements they include and have to conclude that they just want to make the film political. Despite this, Millie Bobby Brown saves the day with her level-headed acting and ability to get into Enola's head. While I am still not a fan of an author taking a great work and writing what equates to fan-fiction out of it, the movie itself is solid on many levels.

Script - 4/10

As I already noted, I was not a fan of the story's conscription and the addition of a fan-fiction-like protagonist. The script is arguably the weakest point of the movie. The story follows Enola's escape from a life of dresses and doilies as she attempts to follow in the footsteps of her older brother Sherlock. Eventually, Sherlock recognizes her innate ability to solve mysteries, but the mystery she sets out to solve seems weak compared to any of Doyle's works. The reveal is slow, and you can see it coming a mile off. The misdirection doesn't give us enough of the other characters to form our own conclusions, and the entire thing, despite its two-hour running time, feels rushed and hurried. We do see some familiar names, but Mycroft is even more unlikable than before, and Lestrade is less of an idiot and more of a money-hungry nuisance. Netflix could have done better here.

Cast - 8/10

As Enola, Millie Bobby Brown is a memorable and moving protagonist. No stranger to essential roles, Henry Cavill does Sherlock a lot of justice (aside from being easy on the eyes). Sam Claflin's Mycroft is similarly hated without working too hard for it. Helena Bonham Carter as Enola's mother, has her trademark style and wit. The flashbacks help you to get into her character and understand her a bit more. Lestrade could have been given a more substantial part because of Adeel Akhtar's screen presence. The weakest part of the talent here was Louis Partridge's Tewkesbury, but even so, it was a well-cast part, and the young actor performed well. The cast seamlessly played off each other and managed to stay in character throughout the entire production.

Pacing - 7/10

If you've ever watched the Sherlock series on BBC, you'll be familiar with what a two-hour Holmes mystery should look like. While the second half of the film manages to do its pacing well, the first half seems to have stuttered. The use of flashbacks, while interesting, also leaves the watcher feeling as though they might have missed something out somewhere. The hunt scenes and the surprise action in between were very well done. However, if you're looking for something akin to Sherlock here, you'll be incredibly disappointed. The pacing here isn't bad, but it's unique in its approach to action and character development.

Enola and Sherlock share a moment.

Composition- 8/10

Enola's fourth-wall-breaks are pretty crafty, and they don't take away from the action going on in front of you. The filmmakers' fascinating choice to use the fourth-wall-break alongside the flashbacks to do storytelling was a gamble, but one that paid off. Action scenes are well-choreographed, and we don't miss a moment through panning cameras and interrupting walls. Even the character development sequences offer a lot of exciting room for experimentation. The cinematography sets the film apart as something memorable and profound, even though the premise is cribbed from a century-old novel series.

Overall - 7/10

If the series of books that Springer wrote is any indication, Netflix may be looking to make this into a full series. If you're a fan of the A. Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes Mysteries, I'd advise you to give this one a miss. I suspect that this series of films is meant to reintroduce the character to younger audiences by giving them a protagonist that they can root for. Even though I am not into Netflix's use of propaganda in their films, it works more as a caricature here than a profound political statement. If you're looking for a fun, thrilling movie with just a hint of easily-solvable mystery, with a heavy dose of women's empowerment, this might be what you're looking for. If you want another episode of Sherlock, this isn't your jam.

Enola Holmes
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