“Enola Holmes” Review: Sherlock’s Little Sister Makes a Great First Impression


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“Enola Holmes” is the latest adaptation of the classic story of private detective Sherlock Holmes. The film, released Sept. 23 for streaming on Netflix, introduces several new characters, including Sherlock’s younger sister Enola, and adds more depth to existing ones. “Enola” stars several A-list actors including Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavil and Helena Bonham Carter. The film was supposed to be released in theaters but was given a Netflix release due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It proves to be an easy watch with a charming cast and a lighthearted storyline.

The film follows the adventures of Enola (Brown), as she searches for her missing mother, Eudoria (Carter). When Enola was growing up, her mother taught her everything she knew about things like archery, science and boxing. Eudoria emphasized that Enola could be anything she wanted to be. On the day of her 16th birthday, Enola wakes up to find her mother missing. Her two older brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock, arrive at her home to handle the issue, but they quickly dismiss Enola and label her as an “uneducated, underdressed, poorly mannered wildling.” Instead of conforming to her brothers’ wishes that she attend boarding school, Enola runs away to London and begins to search for her mother on her own.

“Enola Holmes” is a refreshing take on the famous story of Sherlock Holmes. Previous adaptations of Sir Arthur Conon Doyle’s classic novels have been much more serious with darker tones. However, “Enola” takes a different route, instead, telling a story that’s charming and upbeat. The fourth wall breaks, the colorful cinematography and the humorous form of storytelling ensure that the audience is entertained throughout the course of the film. The themes of feminism, personal strength and self-discovery make “Enola Holmes” a classic coming-of-age story. Although the film takes place in the late 19th century, the message of independence and female empowerment bears timeless relevance. Enola’s character is a great example for a younger audience to follow, as she is independent, confident and brave.

The film also leaves plenty of room for future spin-offs or sequels. Director Harry Bradbeer told Decider that he believes that there are some plot points that he would like to explore further, such as Enola and Sherlock’s eldest brother Mycroft. Bradbeer also stated that he would like to spotlight some of the human rights movements that took place during the late 19th century in any upcoming films. Overall, “Enola Holmes” could have easily felt inferior to some of the more pretentious Sherlock Holmes adaptations, but an original storyline, a star-studded cast and hard-hitting themes of female empowerment made the film an instant classic. 

“Enola Holmes” is available for streaming on Netflix now.