Millie Bobby Brown in a still from Enola Holmes.
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Millie Bobby Brown Is Effortlessly Charming in & as 'Enola Holmes'

'Enola Holmes' will start streaming on Netflix from 23 September.

Updated
Movie Reviews
4 min read

Enola Holmes

Millie Bobby Brown Is Effortlessly Charming in & as 'Enola Holmes'

(Note: This review contains no spoilers)

Netflix's Enola Holmes takes us to an alternate universe consisting of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, his brother Mycroft Holmes and their younger sister Enola Holmes - a chirpy, feminist version of Sherlock himself. Despite the talented known faces (Sam Caflin as Mycroft and Henry Cavill as Sherlock), Enola Holmes is a Millie Bobby Brown show through and through. The Stranger Things star may be known for her chilling performance as Eleven, but Enola Holmes is where we really get to experience everything she has to offer.

Told in an energetic, old-school scrapbook-y manner, Enola Holmes is a mystery-cum-origin story of the titular character. Based on the six-part pastiche series by Nancy Springer, Enola Holmes is an adaptation of the first book - Enola Holmes and the Case of the Missing Marquees. Directed by Harry Bradbeer (also the guy behind two personal favourites - Fleabag and Killing Eve), the film is just over two hours long and follows the incidents that lead to Enola Holmes establishing herself as a 16-year-old detective in 19th century London.

Poster of 'Énola Holmes'
Poster of 'Énola Holmes'
(Photo: Twitter)

The Plot

Before the film can dive into Enola Holmes' story, there's a lot of background information the viewer needs. With a dead father and two grown brothers living away from home, Enola grew up in the company of her mother Eudoria Holmes, played by Helena Bonham Carter. Eudoria gave Enola a precious feminist upbringing.

Instead of learning how to breathe in Victorian-era corsets and embroider, Enola was made to read every single book in their home library and train in physical combat.

All is fine until the day Eudoria mysteriously disappears, leaving Enola in the hands of her estranged brothers, particularly Mycroft, who is adamant on sending her to a finishing school so that she can be more lady-like and eventually find a husband. Enola does what any other naive, headstrong 16-year-old girl would do - she runs away and so begins an exciting adventure filled with ciphers.

Millie Bobby Brown as Enola Holmes.
Millie Bobby Brown as Enola Holmes.
(Photo: Twitter)

Director Harry Bradbeer brings in a Fleabag-esque charm by getting Enola to break the fourth wall in a highly self-aware way. Enola Holmes is both a lesson in 19th-century feminism as well as politics. When push comes to shove, she traps herself in a corset but makes sure to tell us that that's okay because it's her "choice." Later in the film, one of Eudoria's friend, who runs martial arts classes for women in a place disguised as a cafe, tells Sherlock, "Politics doesn't interest you because you have no interest in changing a world that suits you so well."

While Enola does share the genius and confidence of her brother Sherlock, she's in no way socially awkward or mysterious. Her ways are more lively and hopeful with a touch of humour.

Millie Bobby Brown Is Effortlessly Charming in & as 'Enola Holmes'
(Photo: Twitter)

Does Millie Bobby Brown Do Justice?

Millie Bobby Brown's performance in Enola Holmes is poles apart from her performance in Stranger Things. For starters, she actually has dialogues in Enola Holmes (a lot of dialogues), but there's still something raw about her. The character of Enola Holmes doesn't seem to come as naturally to Brown as that of El. However, Brown is able to keep up with the pace of her character and hardly appears to miss a beat.

The film's dialogues are loaded with the typical dry British humour and that helps smoothen the edges of Brown's performance.

What About Sherlock?

I haven't read Nancy Springer's books so it's hard to tell whether the fault lies in the original work or the adaptation. Personally, I felt a little disappointed by Henry Cavill's Sherlock. From the very beginning, Enola Holmes' Sherlock is considerably more emotive than you'd expect. Which is why, when Enola tries to mock Sherlock for accidentally displaying his emotional side, the exchange doesn't quite land the way it's supposed to. Of course, it's tough to fill in the shoes already worn by Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch. And there's a good possibility that this new side of Sherlock perhaps exists only in the same universe as his sister... but did that work for me? Not quite. Instead of directly being introduced to a changed Sherlock, I would have enjoyed watching him slowly transform through his interactions with his little sister.

Millie Bobby Brown Is Effortlessly Charming in & as 'Enola Holmes'
(Photo: Twitter)

Mycroft Holmes is as annoying as you'd expect him to be. Fiona Shaw as Miss Harrison, the educator meant to tame Enola and Helena Bonham Carter, as Enola's mother, add the much-needed weight to the adaptation. Their appearances are brief but impactful and if there are more in this series, I'm really hoping to see more of Enola's mother in the future.

Millie Bobby Brown Is Effortlessly Charming in & as 'Enola Holmes'
(Photo: Twitter)

Hit or Miss?

Enola Holmes is engaging all the way to the end, thanks to a taut script and Brown's commentary. Keeping everything aside, Brown has a certain charm unique to her and she's able to carry the film entirely on her 16-year-old shoulders despite being supported by pretty acclaimed actors. Enola Holmes is, overall, an effortless, fun watch. Don't expect too much because it isn't going to blow your mind. Although, it does have a way of surprising you in certain parts and that's worth it.

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