Review: Light 'Enola Holmes' proves worthy vehicle for Millie Bobby Brown
Courtesy of Netflix
Netflix hopes to jumpstart their next big franchise around “Stranger Things” star Millie Bobby Brown with the spunky, though not quite groundbreaking, “Enola Holmes.” The film chronicles the exploits and misadventures of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes' stubborn, but spirited, teenage sister. At age 16, Brown has amassed quite the global following, so it’s no shock a studio would want to build franchises around her. She’s in the driver’s seat the entire time, and her effortless charm and energy make the soggier elements of “Enola Holmes” go down smoothly, delivering fun mysteries, and comical fourth-wall breaks.
After her mother (Helena Boham Carter) disappears, Enola enlists and reunites with the enigmatic Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and the persnickety Mycroft (Sam Claflin) to help track her down. Both men feel well suited for the roles, especially Cavill who seems built for the character, donning his natural accent and walking with organic swagger. Meanwhile, Claflin manages to get a few swings of melancholy in the film, but this is Brown’s vehicle through and through.
Guy Ritche’s stylized “Sherlock Holmes” this is not, but there are similarities between the two. Both have a lighthearted wittiness to them and a razor sharp edge, which in this case is beefed up by screenwriter Jack Throne’s dialogue and director Harry Bradbeer’s light tone. The mixture of the visual aesthetics with the spunky world building proves good fodder for the young sleuth, even if the mechanics feel a bit too familiar.
After all, the past decade has seen the revival of the detective genre, and suddenly “Nancy Drew’ and Agatha Christie are hip again, thanks to popular films like “Knives Out” fostering a new era of whodunits. While “Enola Holmes” is geared toward a slighter younger audience, parents shouldn't have to succumb to checking their emails every five minutes because the film is decently entertaining.
Living in a time where Hollywood executives have to mine the literary vaults to repurpose existing and iconic properties (looking at you “Robin Hood”) to turn a quick buck, I found myself enjoying the liberties taken with “Enola Holmes” despite the overabundance of “Sherlock Holmes” stories that exist in the medium. The consistent fourth wall breaks and forced romantic subplot aren’t as clever or inventive as Bradbeer would assume, and the central mystery, though compelling, never reaches astronomical heights. But as a film that celebrates its heroine and gives young girls an icon to stand with, “Enola Holmes” is saddled with riches.
Enola Holmes premiers globally on Netflix Wednesday September 23rd