Review: ‘Enola Holmes’ is mainstream mystery film with aspects of comedy


Courtesy of Pop Culture Times

TRL’s Ryan Wang says that in the film actress Millie Bobby Brown “challenges herself in the role of Enola Holmes, playing a character that’s much more mature, sophisticated, and ingenious than most teenagers and even adults.”

Throughout the course of the modern entertainment era, there are certain films that hold more resemblance for being a breakout performance by a certain actor or actress, rather than the acclaim the film itself would have. Notable instances include Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone,” and Timothee Chalamet’s debut in “Call Me By Your Name,” where these, now highly-demanded, performers first graced the world of film. Netflix’s latest release “Enola Holmes” serves just that purpose for one of the newer faces in entertainment over the past few years: actress Millie Bobby Brown. Brown, most noted for her portrayal as Eleven in the wildly popular Netflix series “Stranger Things,” challenges herself in the role of Enola Holmes, playing a character that’s much more mature, sophisticated, and ingenious than most teenagers and even adults. It’s a film I don’t expect to be remembered or win any awards, but it could be marked as the breakthrough role for Brown in film, as it’s the film that distinguishes her as a star, and not just an actress. 

The whole premise of “Enola Holmes” is actually relatively interesting, as it revolves around the younger sister of English detective and national celebrity Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill). Despite being in her brother’s shadow, she carves her own mark in the world of detective work, and it’s apparent that the characteristics of profound intellect exist within all three Holmes siblings. Cavill may also be the most hulking and built Sherlock Holmes over the years, and Sam Claflin as Mycroft Holmes emphasizes the youthful and playful aspects of the film. It’s a stark contrast to the hit series “Sherlock,” where actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Gatiss elevate darker and more mysterious themes within a similar storyline. “Enola Holmes” isn’t meant to be a mind-boggling film that leaves you wondering about complex mysteries, only to have you in awe when the articulate protagonist calmly explains the whole thing to you as if it was quite easy to break down; the film by itself is really just another mainstream mystery film with aspects of comedy that really isn’t anything special based on plot and development. 

Based on the book series “The Enola Holmes Mysteries,” by Nancy Springer, the film lacking mystery is concerning. Despite Brown’s exceptional portrayal of Enola, the lack of a well-developed mystery within the world of Sherlock Holmes is a glaring pitfall. In fact, the film attempts to juggle three different mysteries at the same time, with each one lacking the necessary clues audiences need to piece out the mystery themselves. So when Enola solves the mysteries, audiences are left confused about how she arrived at those conclusions. It was a mistake to have Enola take on two different detective cases at the same time, while also trying to solve the mystery behind her mother’s disappearance. The acting may be good, but the storyline and plot pale in comparison to previous films and series in the Sherlock Holmes universe. 

Despite the shortcomings of this film, what director and Emmy-winner Harry Bradbeer has found, is two actors that slide seamlessly into the roles of Enola and Sherlock Holmes. Brown and Cavill’s performances carry this film, and their performances are magnetic. The potential for this film to be a franchise is exciting, as there are more mysteries waiting to be solved within Springer’s books. So, it’s up to the writers to listen to the reviews and critiques, and craft together a true mystery film for the sequel of “Enola Holmes.” But for now, if you look past the lack of mystery, you’ll be granted a film that’s easy-to-watch, injected with the right amount of comedy and drama, and just begging for a franchise. 

Rating: B-