Enola Holmes: A Unique Take on the Sherlock Formula


After being released on Netflix on Sept. 23, 2020, “Enola Holmes” has already reached the top of the charts as of Oct. 1. The writers and actors manage to combine great aesthetic and great performances, all while proceeding through an intriguing plot.

Oliver Buckley, Staff Writer

Everybody knows the story of Sherlock Holmes, the detective mastermind, British icon, and if you’re Benedict Cumberbatch, an absolute heartthrob. These are things one would expect before watching a Sherlock Holmes based movie or TV series. 

But “Enola Holmes” isn’t the typical, vanilla “Sherlock Holmes” movie. Rather, the focus of the film is on his lesser-known sister Enola Holmes, played by Millie Bobby Brown. Enola spelled backward is alone, which tells you all that you need to know about her character. But Enola says it herself, she’s alone but never lonely.

“Enola Holmes”, at its core, is a tale of finding yourself and deciding which path in life you want to take: the one decided by your peers or the one that you create yourself.

Enola Holmes features a very star-studded cast, with acclaimed actors and actresses such as Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavil and Helena Bonham Carter. Saying that there is not a poor acting performance in this movie isn’t a bold claim, but it needs to be said. The writing is incredibly sharp and delivered well, a standout performance being from Brown. 

In the past, audiences have seen how Brown stood out as Eleven in “Stranger Things”. Despite having few lines Brown was an immediate success. Now with her role as one of the most talkative and witty characters in the film, she shows her full potential as an actress at the age of just 16. Brown showcases charisma, wit and comedy as a refreshing character in this familiar setting of pre-World War London. 

In addition to Brown and other’s performances, the writing is also strong, notably with remarkable pacing. The plot kicks off with the disappearance of Enola Holmes’ mother, played by Helena Bonham Carter, and the film keeps the same excitement throughout its two hour run time. It is exciting and mysterious; the film never leaves the viewer bored. 

The film manages up to three subplots, sometimes all happening simultaneously, making the film confusing at times, leaving questions on which story is the most important. And some subplots aren’t resolved as satisfyingly as the viewer would hope. Sometimes one is even abruptly ended or put on pause right in the middle of the movie with little warning, only to be resolved in the last ten minutes of the film, making one of the most crucial plots of the movie feel rushed. 

Aesthetically, this movie really shines. Late 19th century London has been a fascination with filmmakers for decades and gives the opportunity for unique costumes and set design. The bright dresses worn by characters of royalty perfectly contrast the gloomy overcast skies of the city, highlighting the disparity between the upper and lower classes.

This film has a lot of things it wants to say and is able to make a commentary in a manageable way. “Enola Holmes manages to talk about class, greed, self-acceptance and feminism while also managing to make everything sound coherent. 

Overall, “Enola Holmes” is a fun but witty film that is perfect for all ages and demographics that includes a strong and memorable cast of characters.