Enola Holmes (2020) Review – A Tale of Liberation from the Corset


Enola Holmes is the 2020 Netflix mystery adventure film directed by Henry Bradbeer. It stars Millie Bobby Brown as the protagonist Enola Holmes. Henry Cavill plays the character of the genius detective Sherlock Holmes while Sam Claflin plays the eldest sibling Mycroft Holmes. Adeel Akhtar as Lestrade leaves a solid presence in his brief appearance.  The film is the adaptation of “the Enola Holmes Mystery” by Nancy Springer.

The Story

The story eddies around the young and jagged 16 years old Enola Holmes. Enola was brought up by her mom Eudoria Holmes, played by the ingenious Helena Bonham Carter, in the absence of any male figure. The father died when she was a toddler and the two elder bothers left home soon after that. Eudoria is a feral and savage feminist in an 1884 patriarchal England. She is a habitual reader of the journal of dress reform and the magazine for modern womanhood. She home schools Enola and prepares her for a world that is ruthless and unjust for women. Enola says that her mother loves to decipher the ciphers and loves word games. She named her Enola because if read backwards it spells Alone. She wanted to tell her that she can do everything alone. She doesn’t have to rely on anybody instead use her own rationale. Enola is never taught embroidery or the etiquettes of dressing up and eating and talking. Instead she is given lessons of jujitsu and science. Enola elopes in a hope to find her mother, but accidently bumps into Lord Tewksbury, played by Louis Partridge. Before she realizes she finds herself entwined in a much larger game of violence and dirty politics.

On her 16th birthday Enola finds out that her mother is missing. Her two brothers come back home to look into the matter.  Mycroft, the elder sibling has a misogynistic outlook of looking at things and is aghast and dismayed to find his little sister devoid of any qualities that a lady should possess. He decides to send her to a “Finishing School for women” but Enola obviously has other plans. Sherlock on the other hand sees a great deal of himself in her, but isn’t ready to accept the fact in its entirety. A women being a detective was an unfathomable idea, even to a cerebral personality like Sherlock Holmes. Enola on the other hand is ready to encounter the real world. Though she has minuscule knowledge about the real world but she is determined to free herself from the shackles of “Corset”, which she considers as a symbol of oppression.

Enola Holmes is a handsomely produced film, showing us a very profuse and lush green industrial London.  Millie Bobby Brown has an endearing presence. Louis Partridge too brings out the vulnerabilities of a youthful romance while sharing the screen with the protagonist. But Enola Holmes is just not able to create a kind of exuberant impression that Millie Bobby Brown’s earlier venture, The Stranger Things, did. The plot seems predictable. It might bring out a laugh or two but it is never enough. One is not able to indulge or give oneself up to the atmospherics of this world. The emotions and seriousness fails to register an impact as you never fully get immersed into the make believe world. Enola Holmes never latches on to the legacy of Sherlock Holmes and tries to create an original narrative.

Enola Holmes is a 2 hours long pleasant ride that is perfect for a lighthearted evening.

Enola Holmes is an adventure comedy film based on the book series of the same name by Nancy Springer. The film was released in 2020 and is streaming on Netflix.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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