Well, that was a good watch. When this film was first announced, I had my reservations. Even with the all-star cast, there was a bit of concern over Netflix delivering a great experience. I am happy to say I was wrong.
First off, Millie Bobby Brown really has a big career ahead of her. Taking the title role, she shines as the younger Holmes sister and easily takes the spotlight from her muscular brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and her other interfering sibling Mycroft (Sam Claflin). As Enola, Brown has got possibly her best role since Eleven in Stranger Things as the clever young lady who has her own mystery to solve.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Starting on Enola’s 16th birthday, Enola finds that her mother has gone missing. Initially, she looks to her older brothers for help to find the missing matriarch (Helena Bonham Carter). Mycroft believes that Enola should be sent to a school to become a proper lady. Sherlock believes his sister is talented and encourages her natural gifts. The two brothers, while talking about their mother, inadvertently leads Enola to a clue about Mrs Holmes’ disappearance. This then sparks her own investigation which sees her head to London and become entwined in another story which tickles her sense of adventure and danger.
Enola, while only just starting her own journey, is forced to help the young Viscount Tewksbury. Who would have thought saving someone from death on a train could lead to this journey? Louis Partridge is more than a perfect foil for the rough around the edges Holmes sister. The duo hold some great chemistry which is missed when they are apart. The two have some similarities, but each has a unique personality that meld together. While Enola is determined to complete her mission, she proves to have Sherlock’s traits by not being able to walk away from an interesting case.
Throughout the film, Enola addresses the audience through the breaking of the fourth wall. While in some films this could be annoying, her good-hearted nature and fun presence make it a joy every time that Brown breaks away from the action. Like Deadpool, Enola can somehow get away with simultaneously interacting with the world around her and addressing the audience.
WHAT MAKES IT GOOD?
There is just a lovely amount of charm on show. Throughout the film, it is clear this is Enola Holmes’ story with Sherlock and the other well-known Doyle characters kept firmly in supporting roles. Lestrade is able to get in a few good quips, but never outstays his welcome. Mycroft is serious and strict, but creates a few laughs through his personality. Then there is Sherlock, Henry Cavill gives a more relaxed portrayal to the usual profile we see.
I can’t really say there is a bad performance in this film. Whether it is acting legend Frances de la Tour stealing the show or Torchwood star Burn Gorman doing a lot with very few words, this film is a great slice of British quality throughout. The acting compliments Jack Thorne’s script which layers comedy, drama, mystery and love so well. I should also mention Jack Thorne created the show’s Glue and The Fades, two shows I can highly recommend and a legacy of this great talent.
Millie Bobby Brown though is the one who owns this film. She leads with a high level of confidence and charisma. The young actress shows how well she can take on a new role after impressing us as Eleven in Stranger Things for the last four years. Some younger stars would struggle to lead such a film with many top names, but Brown proves she can run circles around everyone that tangles with her on the screen. Also, this girl can fight. I mean she can honestly topple a man twice the size of her and make it look effortless.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. There are a few gripes I feel I need to address. The underuse of Helena Bonham Carter in a role which could really play to her more eccentric talents. Also, the ending purposely pushes for a sequel without really having a compelling lead in to it. Also, why doesn’t Henry Cavill get to fight anyone? This is minor when compared to the talent, heart and effort shown throughout the two-hour presentation.
I will be more than happy to see Millie Bobby Brown return as Enola Holmes. If a sequel is on the cards, it would be great to see Brown and Cavill maybe do more together and see what kind of team they can be when both working together. Also, who wouldn’t want to see more this “Deadpool for family audiences” get a second round. Ok, Deadpool may not be the best comparison, but it’s the best use of fourth wall breaks since then.
Funny, charming, action-packed and truly one of the best films in 2020 so far!