Subhash K Jha reviews Enola Holmes

Review Of Enola Holmes: Ebullient, Disarming, Dishy

Enola Holmes(Netflix)

Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Sam Claflin, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter
Directed by Harry Bradbeer

Did you know Sherlock Holmes—yes, the one who solves complex mysteries and shares a queer relationship with his assistant-friend Watson—had a baby sister? Enola Holmes, yes that’s name, is a bit of a rebel. She won’t do all the things that girls her age (16) normally do in the London of the 1880s.

At one point a male pal asks her, “You really can’t do embroidery???!!”

She can’t. But she can do Jujitsu and beat her big brothers at chess. Mom, played by the sassy Helena Bonham-Carter, has taught Enola to be free-spirited and that’s a bit of a problem for her two middleaged brothers Mycroft(Sam Claflin) and Sherlock(Henry Cavill)who just want to send off their baby sister to a finishing school to learn the etiquette of worthy womanhood.

Much of Enola Holmes unfolds in a familiar and predictable trajectory flitting from one flirtatious adventure to another on the magic carpet of fairytale emotions. The pace is swift and smooth, as Enola flees from her brothers’ tyranny to explore the big bad world of friendship and franchise and quickly befriends a callow royalty Tewkesbury(Louis Partridge) who has some serious grandma issues which we shall not discuss.

Suffice it to say that Enola Holmes never forgets or forfeits its artless sense of fun and adventure. The wispy wondrous world of Enola Holmes is populated by a fairytale fervor that pulls the plot along from one fascinating adventure to another. Throughout, the director never lets go of the plot’s great pride in adventurism.

The film is unabashedly festive, almost fetishizing the spirit of fun, so that the world created in the film seems insulated from reality. I think this captivating effervescence plus the winking ode to feminism make this a hugely enjoyable ride.

The performances are suited to the skittish spirit. While Sam Claflin(gruff) and Henry Caville(friendly) are handsomely dependable as Enola’s two brothers, Millie Bobby Brown, though undeniably likable as Enola, looks like she has eaten up all her candies all at once in the more dramatic scenes.

Inexperience is not only permissible but even welcome in the unpretentiously naïve world of Enola Holmes. Embrace the opposite of artifice and reject subterfuge in this irresistibly charming film.

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