Trying to fall in love with film again.

I really loved Enola Holmes. A lot more than I thought I would.

Story

The movie revolves around Enola Holmes, sister of already famous detective Sherlock Holmes and government worker Mycroft. She lives with her eccentric mother Eudoria in Ferndell Hall, where she was taught everything from chess to jujitsu and has a penchant for word games. 

On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, she awakens to find her mother missing after leaving her some presents and clues. While her brother Mycroft is trying to send her to finishing school, Enola takes it upon herself to find their mother. 

When I saw the trailer, I was a little confused because I had no idea that Sherlock and Mycroft had a sister but after doing a little research, I discovered that this movie is based on the series by Nancy Springer who created the character. And it makes sense given the tonal difference when you compare it to other iterations about the famous literary character. 

That leads me to say, that I like really like how the movie approached Enola as a character. Yes, she is Sherlock Holmes' sister, and while it does play an important role in the plot, that is not what the story is about. It focuses on who Enola is, and her growth as a person. She is given an avenue to make her own mistakes and have her own adventures without her brother hanging over her head the whole time.

Acting

I am 99% sure that most of know Mille Bobbie Brown as Eleven on the show Stranger Things, a role where she doesn't have a lot of lines and has to emote through her facial expressions. Here, we actually get to see more of her personality and charisma. And she has buckets of it. We knew Millie Bobby Brown was a good actress but this movie shows that she can do both dramatic and comedic in the same role. Even though Enola is this remarkable person with wit and character, she's also vulnerable and Millie does a great job of balancing the stronger parts of Enola with the more vulnerable parts of her. 

When I found out that Henry Cavill was going to play Sherlock Holmes in some capacity, I'm not going to lie I was giving the casting a little side-eye. Not because I didn't think he could pull off the role but I wasn't sure what the story would be. And I can eat my words because the casting makes sense. I think I'm used to seeing Sherlock be an outlandish character but he's a lot calmer in this movie (even though The Conan Doyle Estate didn't think so) and it's nice contrast to Enola who is a lot more eccentric (or wild as the movie calls her).

When I saw the trailer, I didn't know Sam Claflin played Mycroft. Not only is unrecognisable, the character is a departure from what I'm used to and I'm not mad at it. While he isn't THE antagonist, he is AN antagonist. Meaning, that he is at odds with Enola even though they are siblings. Having Mycroft be who he is, and act the way he does, creates tension and stakes because he with their mother missing, he is Enola's guardian. Sam Claflin's performance is probably the best in the movie after Millie Bobby Brown because it leaves an impression on you.
Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin in Enola Holmes (2020) dir. Harry Bradbeer

Helena Bonham Carter is the PERFECT person to play Eudoria Holmes. Much like Enola, she's eccentric, free-spirited and a non-conformist. And if you look at a lot the characters she has played this fits in perfectly. What makes Eudoria a good character is how insightful she is. She is aware of the world she lives in and doesn't let that wear on her or take away her free-spirited nature. Rather she passes that on to her daughter.

Writing/Direction 

I love the way this movie is directed. Harry Bradbeer really made this movie stand out. From the use of fourth-wall breaks, to the way the film was edited with intercuts from Enola's time with her mother. It really gives us a chance to see what Enola is thinking and feeling. It also lends a bit of comedy to the movie as, like most teenagers, Enola has a witty response to everything and anything. Having the movie be from her perspective really endears us to her as she is able to describe her relationship with her mother and tell us the audience why her mission is so important.

The writers also managed to add in another plotline (that I am not going to spoil) without it detracting from the main one. The subplot gives us a chance to see just how clever and witty Enola is without the emotional attachment of the initial case.

There are also some really important lessons to take away from the movie. However, the movie doesn't stop to tell you what those lessons are or beat you over the head with it. They are simply there where you can choose to apply them or not.

CGI/Set Design

The set design manages to create a modernised version of Victorian England. You immediately recogniase that you're looking at not looking at London as it is today, but you're also looking at a city that bears resemblance to how the city is now. The movie also takes advantage of its country setting. There are gorgeous landscape shots that show vibrant colours. 

Each location also has a distinct colour palette which serves to differentiate the locations as well as Enola's feelings about them. 

Score/Soundtrack

I really liked the score. It fits in with the overall tone of the movie and gave it its own distinct sound. crafted a score that not only worked to move the story along but also sounded really fun and whimsical and I found myself humming along by the end of the movie.

Overall Thoughts

Enola Holmes is a gem of a film. It's one of those movies that you revisit after you watched it because it's soooo much FUN. There's comedy, drama, a layered story with interesting characters and a mystery that needs to be solved. Someone on twitter called it their new comfort movie, and I have to agree. It's one of those movies that leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling on the inside. And when I say “I loved it more than I thought I would.” I don’t mean I thought it would be bad, it looked good from the trailer, but I was still really surprised by it

I definitely recommend it and I would 100% watch a sequel.

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