“Enola Holmes”: A Step in the Right Direction

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Legendary / Netflix

Janelle Camba, Editor in Chief

“Enola Holmes” centers around the adventures of Sherlock Holmes’s less famous sister, Enola. The movie, which can be found on Netflix, follows an undercover Enola attempting to track down her mother while evading capture from her ill-intentioned brother, Mycroft.

 

The film uses creative directing choices that truly add to each character’s charm. Early on, the movie establishes that Enola thinks in anagrams and puzzles. We see this repeatedly throughout the story while she unravels the mystery of her missing mother. Her thoughts are depicted on Scrabble tiles to help the audience see what she sees. This artistic choice makes the mystery all the more intriguing.

 

However, Enola’s sleuth work is the most compelling piece of the plot. Anything that strays from solving the mystery feels out of place. The film’s midpoint suffers from this as Enola veers onto a side quest to save a boy, which later overtakes the story in its entirety. Tewkesbury, the boy in need of saving, doesn’t add any nuance outside of being the object of Enola’s stubborn affections. The only silver lining is that the couple wasn’t forced into a relationship within a week of knowing each other.

 

Surprisingly, I wish Enola and Sherlock were given more screen time together. The audience only saw glimpses of what could’ve been a great detective duo. Both are witty and natural mystery solvers. My only complaint is that these similarities weren’t presented in a more creative way. I would’ve enjoyed seeing their actions and thought processes parallel each other. The film often showed them coming to the same conclusions but didn’t dwell on how they got there. Seeing their trains of thought mirror one another would’ve added a new layer to their partnership.

 

“Enola Holmes” also had emotional moments that fell flat. Major payoffs were poorly executed and left the audience disengaged. Most of this is due to flawed logic, predictability, or awkward writing. There’s a moment where Enola discovers her mother kept a pinecone under her pillow from Enola’s childhood out of sentiment. Though the context matters, this scene felt small in the grand scheme of the movie.

 

The cast definitely carried this story. Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonhom Carter, and Louis Partridge allowed viewers to overlook some of the questionable decisions in the film. I think this is a good start to the “Enola Holmes” franchise as the introductions are now out of the way. Hopefully, the next movie will dig into the mystery elements of the Holmes family and further develop their amazing cast. Overall, “Enola Holmes” has its flaws, but there’s a lot of potential. The theming around the difference between being alone and being lonely is well done. Between the clever directing and excellent acting, “Enola Holmes” is a good first step in the growing series.