Millie Bobby Brown is a movie star. There was never any doubt but Godzilla: King of the Monsters didn’t quite do it for her. Enola Holmes is truly her vehicle and it’s so much fun, it’s sure to be the beginning of a whole franchise. The film premieres Sept. 23 on Netflix.
Millie Bobby Brown IS ‘Enola Holmes’
Enola Holmes (Brown) is Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill)’s little sister. She lives with her mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter) until one day Eudoria goes missing. Sherlock and Mycroft (Sam Claflin) come to take care of Enola in her absence, but Enola runs away to solve the mystery herself.
Enola talks to the camera like Ferris Bueller. Her sleuthing uses interstitial diagrams, illustrations, film strips and more devices. Director Harry Bradbeer directed Fleabag and the pilot for Killing Eve, so he applies the same sort of irreverent style tone to softer, more family friendly heroine Enola Holmes (although there is one edgy moment of violence.)
The mystery and adventure of ‘Enola Holmes’
Enola Holmes is playful even in its backstory. Eudoria and Enola play tennis and practice archery indoors. Enola goes from one danger to the next. It’s not quite Indiana Jones, but there’s excitement on a train, a fight with a bad guy in an alley, and many narrow escapes.
Enola is also a Victorian teenager in the big city of London. It’s cute, and of course this rebellious heroine objects to the expectation that she wear corsets and find a husband. She also meets a boy, Tewksbury (Louis Partridge) who comes in and out of her adventure.
Much of the mystery of Enola Holmes involves a series of cyphers. She decodes one code and it leaders her to the next clue, which is usually another cypher. It gets her from place to place though, and her deduction is fun.
Sherlock Holmes, Mycroft Holmes and one plot too many
Cavill’s Sherlock is pretty quiet and removed. He sits back and waits for things to happen. That’s probably the more traditional portrayal. We may be used to the more bombastic Robert Downey, Jr. version, but he’s also not the star of this movie. He graciously supports Enola’s vehicle. Mycroft represents the more traditional pressures Enola is trying to escape.
As breezy and fun as Enola Holmes is, it still can’t afford to be two hours long. It could lose 15 minutes, and a very specific 15 minutes at that. There’s a whole segment in the middle that adds yet another subplot to the story, and it just takes time to work it out and get back to the main story.
Perhaps they can work out those kinks in future Enola Holmes movies. It is based on a series of books, so there are more stories, and Enola could solve crimes indefinitely. Brown is as charming here as she is intense on Stranger Things so if she can solve the case of the bloated run time, Enola Holmes will be a great movie vehicle for Brown. What Will Smith was to ’90s movies, Brown can be Big Millie Style!
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