Welcome back all you creeps and ghouls alike. The Halloween season is upon us and I’m back with another review but this time it’s something quite different than I am used to writing about. This time I’m here to talk about Harry Bradbeer’s ENOLA HOLMES, which is based on Nancy Springer’s series, “The Enola Holmes Mysteries.”
Prior to my opportunity to check out ENOLA HOLMES, I was completely unaware that there was a book series that this film is based on. Of course, this had me rather excited because my little bit of research led me to believe that this film would contain a certain level of whimsy that other great book-to-film adaptations have like, for example, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Harry Potter. Speaking of Harry Potter, the casting on this film does share a few of the same actors such as Helena Bonham Carter, Fiona Shaw, and Frances de la Tour. The casting for this film is strong with fantastic players. Enola Holmes is played by Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”, Godzilla: King of Monsters). Sherlock is played by Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, “The Witcher“) and Sam Clafin (“Peaky Blinders”, The Nightingale) plays Mycroft. With casting like this, you can believe that the acting was top notch and I didn’t have a single complaint about any individual character performance.
Following clues left by her missing mother, Enola leaves her country home shortly after the arrival of her brothers Sherlock and Mycroft, and heads to London. Thus begins an action-packed plot with a mystery that takes you through stunning locations and sets that truly immerse you within the time period and story. The level of detail on the sets is truly impressive. I’ve seen a lot of period piece films that drop the ball in one way or another by exposing accidental glimpses of the modern world., ENOLA HOLMES is shot in a fashion that is completely immersive as if you stepped into the late 19th century. The sets take us through 19th Century London, train rides through rural countryside, and long carriage rides down desolate roads.
Enola, having been raised by her clever firecracker of a mother (Helena Bonham Carter), is a highly-skilled 16-year old that utilizes her cunning and physical abilities to overcome trouble after trouble with her hunt to locate her parent. There’s a bunch of callbacks to things Enola learned during her childhood that help her solve clues and problems. One of these special skills is the ability to solve word riddles within jumbled letters. To me, this was one of the most interesting aspects of her skill set and ironically it’s the basis of her life and how she’s been named.
There’s a strong theme in this film of the independence of women and I think this is an extremely important message for young viewers. Despite her brother Mycroft being a pompous time period sexist, Enola continues to use her wit and independence with the hidden support of her brother, Sherlock. To me, this is a statement saying to not let the odds hold you back no matter your sex, race, social standing, or how different you are in comparison to how society thinks you should be. This is truly a family film and I think the underlying message is something to take away with you, especially if you’re watching with young children. It’s something that can be discussed together.
Enola does encounter a potential love interest that intertwines another mystery that I won’t spoil for you. You’ll have to wait until it comes on Netflix to find out for yourself! ENOLA HOLMES is a clever, fun, and whimsical story that will keep you in anticipation of what will happen next during the entire two-hour duration. The ending leaves you wanting more in the best way possible. I cannot wait to share this movie with my nieces and look forward to the possibility of seeing more of these films in the future!
ENOLA HOLMES will be released tomorrow exclusively on Netflix.