Despite the mystery ahead of Enola, it’s the life experiences that make the film feel worthwhile.
This review of Netflix film Enola Holmes contains no spoilers. The movie will be released on the streaming service on September 23, 2020.
The immediate selling point of Enola Holmes is Millie Bobby Brown’s enthusiasm for the role as she breaks the fourth wall and tells the audience of her wonderful relationship with her mother Mrs. Holmes (played by Helena Bonham Carter). What follows is a disappearance act as Enola needs to figure out where her mother has fled to and more importantly, why she fled. This brings in Henry Cavill’s Sherlock Holmes and Sam Claflin’s Mycroft Holmes. The Netflix film has a marvellous line-up and one where the Millie/Henry shakeup in Holmes’ world brings excitement.
The lead character has brimming ardor and a willingness to learn and, coupled with an actor that embraces the role, you have a situation where Enola alone carries the film to the halfway point. There’s nothing particularly engaging about the adventure Enola is embarking on; the interests lie with her as the Netflix film bamboozles across many plot points to create varying objectives.
Enola Holmes teases Cavill’s Sherlock as he shows his introvert nature where his life is guided by clues and not personal experiences. his sister Enola is the opposite — she’s led by feelings which gives the story an emotional drive and a reason for her counterapproach to clash with her brother’s. It’s certainly a dynamic that works but the Netflix film misses an opportunity with the sibling act; choosing to separate them for most of the film — Enola Holmes misses out on some obvious chemistry.
Netflix’s Enola Holmes is never clear on what Enola’s end goal is. There’s an assumption at the very start that her mother is not exactly missing which throws the character in plenty of dilemmas and conspiracist-driven adventures. The character is often crippled by personal choices which jumble the story somewhat — is your mother important or your love interest? The film never seems to nail it completely, instead giving it a “coming-of-age” edge while also trying to stay on the mystery.
And I think the “coming-of-age” theme is highly important in Enola Holmes. Despite the mystery ahead of Enola, it’s the life experiences that make the film feel worthwhile. It might have been better if Enola Holmes opted for that angle rather than trying to cram many themes to encapsulate one character. Again, the saving grace is Millie Bobby Brown.
But it would be surprising if audiences did not appeal for a sequel. There is something in this film that could be curated into a grander story. It begs for a more solid plot while keeping the same cast. Enola Holmes is not a complete dead-end despite its flaws.