Enola Holmes is a Netflix movie about, well, Enola Holmes, She’s Sherlock’s younger sister. Never heard of her? Fair enough, she isn’t Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation.
While Sherlock and Mycroft are gallivanting around in London, having adventures, their mother Eudoria Holmes is raising their sister, Enola, in the old Holmes estate. Mycroft finances her household, but as it turns out during the story, the money isn’t going to the estate.
One day, Eudoria ups and vanishes, leaving Enola behind with a few gifts and nothing more. Sherlock and Mycroft rush out to help. They discover that Mycroft’s money was not going to the estate, or educating Enola. So, Mycroft contacts a teacher he knows, and prepares to ship her off to finishing school.
Enola is having none of it. She runs away, in search of her mother, using the clues that her mother left her. As she makes her escape, she runs into another young man on the run, the young viscount Tewkesbury. Things get complicated from there on in.
Millie Bobby Brown plays Enola. You may know her from Stranger Things, where she plays Eleven. I actually didn’t know she was British, but it comes out very clearly in this movie. The child star hasn’t had it easy over the years. Remember when she was chased off Twitter because of fake memes? But she seems to have powered through well enough and made a movie like this.
Henry Cavill comes along with his two swords and saves Enola when her parents are gone, since she’s his ward because of the Law of Surprise… Wait. That’s another show. Oh, right, Henry Cavill plays Sherlock Holmes in this movie. It’s the cape many men have born, but in this case, he wears it as a side character. It’s interesting to see the man basically spending the movie sitting around drinking tea, and sometimes walking into rooms. That’s all. He sits and talks, reading a paper here and there. But I imagine he spends the off-screen time training, because he’s truly the buffest Sherlock I’ve ever seen.
Mycroft is — in part — the antagonist of the story, trying to push Enola into his idea of a good sister. Unfortunately, what he sees as a proper woman, is not what either Enola or her mother had in mind. Enola fights him tooth and nail every step of the way. And in the end… well, you should see it for yourself.
The Mystery that wasn’t
Sherlock Holmes is a detective, and the Enola Holmes novels are mystery novels in line with that idea. The movie tries to do that as well, but along the way, that kind of fizzles. Enola does quite some detectiving, but it seems almost like obligatory puzzles between the actual story beats. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Sherlock — the earlier seasons, mind you — but I’d expected more.
You also have to wonder what epic insane Eudoria must be, to leave her daughter behind without a word. That really isn’t good for a child, despite how it turns out in this movie.
Aside from that. the story is pretty good. It isn’t the best of movies, but Enola Holmes is a fun way to kill some time, especially with the whole family. I hear a second installment is coming, and I think that’s a good thing. We need more movies for children that don’t shy away from themes like women’s suffrage.