Enola Holmes’ Game is Afoot

The Stream: At almost 2 hours, it is longer than it needs to be.

The Big Screen: Millie Bobby Brown is plucky and charming.

The Final Bill: A bright and breezy addition to the Holmes universe.

-Trip Fontaine
Director: Harry Bradbeer
Writers: Nancy Springer (novel), Jack Thorne (screenplay)
Stars: Millie Bobby BrownHenry CavillSam Claflin | See full cast & crew »
Runtime: 1 hour 57 minutes
Genre: AdventureCrimeDrama 
Rating: PG-13
Platform: Netflix

As literary characters go, Sherlock Holmes has had his fair share of reinventions on the big and small screens. It’s easy to understand why such a prickly and intelligent character would be brought back again and again for more mystery and adventure. Nancy Springer expanded the Holmes universe by creating his gutsy and smart younger sister, Enola Holmes, in a series of YA novels. Enola now has a film, which premiered on Netflix this week, titled, of course, Enola Holmes. Fret not, Streamers! I am on the case.

Enola Holmes is essentially an origin story of the 16-year-old Enola setting out to solve her first mystery inspired by the celebrity of her brother, Sherlock, and spurred by the disappearance of her mother. Harry Bradbeer directs the screenplay by Jack Thorne, which adapts the first book in Springer’s series, and creates a fun and bright movie built on the strong-willed spirit and independence of the young girl.

Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Enola, carries this movie on her shoulders and it works because of her. From the first moment where she addresses the audience directly, Brown has total control of her character, the screen, and the audience. She projects the intelligence bursting at her seams and how this teen sleuth can be both cavalier and vulnerable. Henry Cavill plays a warm yet stoic Sherlock. He’s supposed to be the example of why Enola might admire her famous brother; and, he pulls it off even if there could have been more pulled from that character. Sam Claflin plays the other Holmes sibling, Mycroft. He gets to be a bit more dastardly than Cavill’s Sherlock; but both Holmes men take a back seat to Enola and their mother, Eudoria, played by a perfectly cast Helena Bonham Carter. The family’s brilliance shines through each character.

If there is a quibble with Enola Holmes, it is that the plot and mystery are both very basic and completely convoluted. Some might say elementary. Wink. Enola wants to find her mother and the clues are basically all just given to her. The other subplot involving a potential love interest either proves how resourceful Enola is or is too easy to untangle as well. The real problem is that the director doesn’t do anything interesting with depicting Enola’s deductive reasoning. It is all boiled down to very simple puzzles. While some puzzles are shown in a cool way, there definitely could have been more intricacy to it.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Enola Holmes is a fun and frothy addition to the Sherlock Holmes lore. Millie Bobby Brown give a nice performance that shows how much charm and wit she has bursting within. Holmes and Brown together make a worthy pairing. While the runtime could have been trimmed, it is never boring and doesn’t feel like wasted time. Grab a bowl of popcorn and stream it. If you have some tween/teenage kids, Enola Holmes should be a hit for them.

P.S.: When is the sequel coming out?