Enola Holmes investigates untold histories

Róisín Cullen

It’s easy to fall in love with Enola Holmes. This charming film opens with the eponymous teen narrating her life so far. It’ll hook you, and here’s why: Millie Bobby Brown.

The fast pace of ‘Enola Holmes’ reels the viewer in and the star-studded cast is worth sticking around for. This screen adaptation of Nancy Springer’s novel would have been a welcome addition to theatres.

Warner Bros. sold the distribution rights to Netflix when worldwide Covid-19 guidelines came to light. Their loss is our gain. Netflix customers – or anyone whose friends have easily guessed Netflix passwords – can now enjoy this masterpiece.

Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) would give Jo March a run for her money – she’s the plucky, chatty heroine 2020 needs. The film presents the other side of a male-dominated history.

Who even knew Sherlock Holmes had a sister? Who cared? Countless Sherlock adaptations have been produced since Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels, some good, some not so good.

The classic stories have been milked for every penny they’re worth, but it’s easy to forget the historical background of the detective’s stories of mystery. The women’s suffrage movement was in full swing. A Reform Bill was being brought to parliament. A change was coming, for the better.

In the film, Holmes – the female one – searches for her beloved mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter) after she mysteriously leaves their family home. Enola traces her through a series of clues and flower descriptions on cards but soon she unravels a far more pressing murder mystery.

We despair as young Holmes struggles to run away from her life as a ‘ward’, a life spent preparing for marriage. Eudoria Holmes is already a lost cause – she’s the chairperson of secret meetings, a part-time fencer and is seen as quite mad by those around her.

Carter appears on-screen in short intervals encouraging her daughter to follow clues and not be distracted by helping others. These short intervals show how a talented actor can truly transform a script by making it their own. Sam Claffin plays Mycroft Holmes, a man desperately clinging to the past and what he is familiar with.

Henry Cavill plays the latest version of Sherlock Holmes (one where the detective is not the main character), a star some may recognise from Netflix’s fantasy series ‘The Witcher’. However, the main actor to watch in this motion picture is of course Millie Bobby Brown, who was also a producer for the film.

The sixteen-year-old transformed the story into an exhilarating, heart-warming tale. With several Emmy nominations already under her belt for her role as Eleven in ‘Stranger Things’, this teenager is proving herself, again and again, to be worthy of her place among the greats.

Róisín Cullen

Image Credit: Netflix