Movie Review: Enola Holmes

Back in April, Netflix announced it had bought the rights to Enola Holmes, a new movie starring Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven on Stranger Things), Henry Cavill, and Helena Bonham Carter. Under normal circumstances, I would very much have expected this movie to get a theatrical release with that sort of cast. However, COVID being COVID, many movies have had to adapt. If they’re particularly big movies (like Mulan or Tenet or some of the other hoped-to-be-blockbusters), then the film companies tried to do something special for them, up to and including delaying their release.

A movie about Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister apparently doesn’t get the same sort of treatment. Go figure.

The good news is that Hollywood’s loss is our gain. It’s just important to be able to recognize it as such. (I wonder what sort of an ultimate impact this pandemic will have on films. We’ve been trained to expect that the best movies (for the most part) naturally gravitate to the theaters for their first release. Or at least, the movies Hollywood has dumped the most money into. “Best” might not be the right word. Films that premier on streaming services still have a bit of an “also ran” taint to them. The biggest question that might impact this is “can a direct-to-streaming movie make as much money as a theatrical release? Hollywood is trying all sorts of approaches at the moment. Time will tell, I suppose. But without that theatrical release, a lot of the metrics used to tell how successful and popular a film is just don’t work. Opening weekend box office, for example. And films use those splashes to build momentum. I tend to think the pandemic will have many impacts that we can’t even guess right now . . .)

In any case, Denisa and I had the chance to watch Enola Holmes two nights ago. I’d heard generally positive things about the movie, and I’m happy to report they were generally right. It’s a fun adventure movie for the whole family. (It’s rated PG-13 for “some violence,” but I have to wonder if the reviewers were watching the same movie I was watching. I fully expected it to be PG when I checked just now.)

Enola is the younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. She was raised to be an independent thinker, which doesn’t quite line up with what society expects out of women in her day. When her mother suddenly disappears in the middle of the night, Mycroft steps in to send Enola to finishing school, where she can learn to be a proper lady. Naturally, she has other ideas. Like finding the location of her mother and figuring out why she left.

Adventure ensues.

It’s quick moving and well executed for the most part. I though Brown did quite a good job as Enola, though the plot had some rather gaping holes in it here or there that could have done with some patching. (Several times when we get an answer to a mystery, it seems to be just sort of . . . “because.” That was disappointing.)

That said, if you’re looking for a fun way to pass 2 hours, you can’t really go wrong with this one. The production value is there; it’s light hearted and quick moving. Just don’t think about it too much, and enjoy the ride. 7/10.


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