“Enola Holmes” movie stays true to book

Madelaine Province, Staff Writer

Based off of Nancy Springer’s novel, Netflix’s latest popular release, “Enola Holmes” a mystery-action film, has attracted viewers of all ages. With its release during the middle of a pandemic while everyone is home, it was sure to have a sizable audience. However, the film’s success can’t only be accredited to the virus, but to the spectacular scenery, plot and actors, as well.

With well-known leading actors like Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sam Claflin, the film was ripe to attract people of all interests. Louis Partridge was another lead, and while he’s not very well known, his performance was powerful nonetheless.

The film is narrated by Enola (Millie Bobby Brown), with the scenes sometimes even stopping halfway through for her to stop and voice her inner thoughts. This first person way of narration helps to establish that Enola is the main character from the very beginning.

We start by learning what life was like for Enola and her mother (Helena Bonham Carter). Her father died years earlier, and her brothers, Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin), were grown and living on their own.

Set in 1884, the Holmes women’s way of doing things was very different from the norm for women at that time. Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter) taught her daughter fight skills instead of embroidery, and anagrams instead of manners. Enola was required to read the Holmes’ entire library, and by the age of sixteen, her comprehension skills were higher than those of some adults. However, her mother wouldn’t be able to see her 16- year old’s skills in action, because Eudoria disappeared on the morning of Enola’s sixteenth birthday.

Upon her mother’s disappearance, Enola was placed in the custody of her older brother Mycroft, as he and Sherlock were her only other relatives. Mycroft criticized his mother’s parenting, and decided that Enola needed to be taught to be a lady. He made arrangements to send her to Miss Harrison’s Finishing School for Young Ladies, much to Enola’s dismay. This caused her to devise her escape plan, placing her on a train dressed as a boy, where she meets Tewksbury (Louis Partridge). Tewksbury, better known as Lord Tewksbury, was running away from home as well. His father had died, leaving Tewksbury to assume his royal position, something he did not want. The introduction between him and Enola is a harsh one, with him asking for her help and her refusing. Although, her mind is later changed when she realizes that she is the only thing between Tewksbury and death. The two part ways for a short time, leaving Enola on her own in the bustling city of London.

The scenery depicted in both the train ride and London are very appealing, the set designers should be very proud. The appealing city of London is where Enola’s journey of finding her mother begins, but it also lands her in danger.

There is much more adventure that transpires in the film, but I will say that the film ends with us finding out a surprising secret about Tewksbury’s grandmother, and Sherlock Holmes himself being surprised but proud when Enola figured this out before him.

The performances were convincing on all parts, yet some more than others. Helena Bonham Carter, while only appearing in the film a few times, made her emotions unreadable and ultimately left up to the interpretation of the viewers. Millie Bobby Brown had multiple mushy monologues, where I found myself cringing a bit at her forceful and overexaggerated portrayal of her emotions. Still, there aren’t many ways to display powerful emotions without over-exaggerating a little, especially on camera.

One thing that stood out to me was how forced Enola and Tewksbury’s relationship was. Upon her finding him the second time, they acted as they’d known each other for ages, and quickly took to each other as if Enola hadn’t left him lonesome just days before. It could’ve just been the direness of both of their situations, but I know that I’ve never acted that closely with someone I’d just met.

Unreadable emotions, forced friendships, and mushy monologues aside,  the film was captivating. It was an impressive portrayal of the book, and the actors really seemed to work well together. I definitely wouldn’t say no if they considered making a sequel.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Streaming now on Netflix.