Now we are back again to Baker Street with Holmes and another mystery to solve. Sherlock (Henry Cavill) is home; and, so is his brother, Mycroft (Sam Claflin). And yet, this is not his story, not his brother’s, not any man’s in their universe; this is the story of Holmes’ youngest sibling, Enola (Millie Bobby Brown). When Mama Holmes, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter) went MIA, the young Holmes sets forth her own sleuthing duty in a quest to find her mother and, most importantly, discover herself.
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Cheeky and insightful, Enola is, just like Sherlock, quite a character. She will occasionally break the fourth wall and candidly spit her heart out or bemoan extravagantly (raising her eyebrows when she does so, suggesting some degrees of pertinence). Brown, only 15 during the production of Enola Holmes, showcases enormous level of maturity, commitment, and composure beyond her age in embracing the titular character—adapted from Nancy Springer’s book series. Not only producing and starring in the main role, Brown embraces and manifests herself as if the character is solely written for her.
Eudoria is more than just a biological mother to Enola; she is a mentor, a subtle feminist, and a believer of woman independence. No wonder the strange case becomes personal to Enola. She dives head first to the mission, defies any prohibitions, and she is eager to remind us (the audiences) of her views via constant break-the-fourth-wall quip and whip (handled brilliantly by no other than Fleabag director, Harry Bradbeer). Amid the journey, she encounters Viscount Tewkesbury (Louis Patridge), another young soul looking to discover himself and a not-so-subtle reversal of dame in distress character.
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Along the journey, Enola will face perils and playful mysteries that probe solving. While the perils are often portrayed with neatly and fluidly choreographed action spectacles, the mysteries offer small-scale amusement which feels like a Telltale Games franchise. Hand-in-hand with the adventure is her constant exasperation to move out from her brothers’ shadow. Cavill’s Sherlock is understanding, but his reputation overshadows everything around him. We can see the same frustration is in Mycroft’s eyes before he channels into controlling behavior, which Enola despises. She values freedom and the movie has nothing else to offer but to put this upfront in any possible way. If anything, subtlety is never Enola Holmes‘ best suit.
Her journey, however, is never a dull one. It is indeed a lighter Baker Street tale, but it’s never a disappointing one. With playful story, timely message and Brown’s effervescent performance, Enola Holmes is the hit to kickstart a promising franchise. When her story continues, who wouldn’t resist Enola’s tease of freedom?