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Millie Bobby Brown and Helena Bonham Carter in Enola Holmes (2020).

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Murders, Mysteries and Sherlock Holmes’ Little Sister?: A Review of Netflix’s Enola Holmes

As if there wasn’t enough Sherlock Holmes related content, Harry Bradbeer and Jack Thorne have now adapted Nancy Springer’s novel Enola Holmes. The story follows the life of Sherlock Holmes’ youngest sibling, Enola and her life after the disapperance of her mother. Now I must begin by saying, I have very mixed feelings regarding this new movie.

Each actor has proven their abilities in recent projects. For example, Sam Claflin did an amazing job recently as Oswald Mosley in Peaky Blinders. I do think that Claflin held an element of this character within this movie. Though to a milder extent, Claflin showed an arrogant, aggressive and patriachal older brother. He perfectly showed how well his acting abilities stretch and just how unlikeable his character is supposed to be. Moreover, Henry Cavill (recently known for The Witcher), also perfectly portrayed a mysterious Sherlock Holmes. I liked how Thorne provided some character development for Sherlock. He is not viewed as a perfect detective, but one with flaws that he is open to fix. For example, his views on women’s rights. Similarly, Thorne highlights that he is a little out of practice with his detective skills as Enola seems to find things out much quicker than he does. Speaking of Enola, Millie Bobby Brown gives us yet another exceptional performance. She embodies the character and is not too forceful in her portrayal.

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As mentioned above, the actors are all creditted for their amazing performances. However, I do not believe that the directing or the writing complimented their acting abilities as well as it could do so. Firstly, I was not keen on director Harry Bradbeer’s use of breaking the fourth wall. I found it somewhat cringe-worthy. In part it made me feel as if I was in a pantomine or a kids TV show, which wasn’t the effect that I think Bradbeer was trying to achieve. Now, breaking the fourth wall is a technique that has been used a number of times in film. For example, it was most known and well done in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. However, I think the success in Ferris Bueller is mostly out of the fact that the character reveals his schemes to the audience. Therefore, revealing unknown information. I think this is an area that lacked in both the writing and directing of Enola Holmes as the majority of the information was already revealed but then repeated to the audience thus giving it a kid show aesthetic instead. Nevertheless, this technique definitely worked in adding to the shows uniqueness.

Another limitation regarding the writing was that the storyline became a huge side-track from Enola’s main goals. Instead of being about Enola’s quest to find her mother, the quest became solely about saving Lord Tewksbury. Yes, this was hinted and introduced early on. However, I think it would have worked if it was a small obstacle in finding her mother, rather than being the main conflict and resolution presented in the film. I think this decision negatively affected Enola’s renunion with her mother as it became extremely anti-climactic. So much to the point that I personally believe it would have worked better if there was a following movie truly dedicated to finding her mother. Alternatively, I think the story would have worked better as a series instead to provide more attention to detail than we received.

Overall, I do think that the story could have been delivered in a more developed manner. This problem unfortunately outwayed its positives and has resulted in an IMDb rating of 6.6/10, so far. That being said, I do think Thorne and Bradbeer had intentions of making the movie the way they did in order to suit a younger target audience. Therefore, in viewing the movie from this perspective, it was well done. Furthermore, I like how younger generations, specifically females, can look up to Enola Holmes and not just the old male-centric detective stories from the past.

Enola Holmes is now available on Netlix.

 

Featured Image via YouTube.

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