Enola Holmes (2020)
That my girlfriend likes Enola Holmes, enough to watch it twice, was pretty much my only knowledge of it when we put it on. I pretty quickly deduced that it is about a female relative of Sherlock Holmes, because I’m a clever sod. Millie Bobby Brown, no relation to Bobby Brown, plays Enola, the fictional famous detective's fictional-fictional younger sister . She rallies against the Victorian patriarchy (ironic given the Monarch) and also there’s a game afoot!
When I was a kid I used to watch a show called James Bond Jr., who I think was 007’s nephew, rather than one of his hundreds of illegitimate bastards conceived under dubious levels of consent. That was James Bond-lite, for kiddywinks, I loved it and even had one of the toys which was pretty gimmicky and rubbish. I was ten back then. My exact fear for Enola Holmes was that it would be just Sherlock Holmes for teenage girls. I can still access the ten year old boy in me but guess what, I can’t even pretend to enjoy 90% of stuff aimed at young ladies*.
There was also Young Sherlock Holmes, which was a rather more surreal affair pitched nicely at the middle ground between kids and adults, which I have reviewed previously.
Seeing Millie Bobby Brown without a skinhead is odd when you’ve basically only seen her in Stranger Things, but she’s a good actress and nails the plum, silver-spoon English accent. Similarly, seeing Helena Bonham Carter not in a Tim Burton film- what’s going on there?! Oh right they split up. Sorry, I’m a nincompoop.
Enola Holmes is zippy and period enough while retaining a contemporary feel and commentary that it feels a little like someone remade Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. For teenage girls. Enola breaks the fourth wall quite a bit which I found annoying and a little smug, but then the Holmes family are supposed to be self satisfied twats, for all their brilliance. She’s a loaded posh girl, but a bit of a rebel by her times’ standards, who solves mysteries, except…
The mystery at the film’s centre isn’t very engrossing or central enough to carry the film. Enola Holmes is a rattle through exposition and scene setting. Millie Bobby Brown is good value but Enola Holmes just doesn’t feel Sherlocky enough, whatever dress you put it in; perhaps that’s the point.
Despite whining and bemoaning my lack of a menstrual cycle (in order to enjoy the film more- not because I want it. You can keep the monthly blood ladies, thanks, it sounds awful), I didn’t hate Enola Holmes and I’ll probably watch the sequel. Only because my girlfriend wants to, obviously. 6/10
*I like the Backstreet Boys. Are teenage girls still into Backstreet Boys?** **Years ago I'd have made a crude joke about me putting myself into a teenage girl, but I didn't. Growth.
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