Enola Holmes Is A Potential Franchise Starter

Sherlock (Henry Cavill), Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown), and Mycroft (Sam Claflin) in Enola Holmes. Photo by Robert Viglasky.

With the wit and charm of Millie Bobby Brown at the forefront, Enola Holmes makes for a fresh start of a new detective franchise.

We all know Sherlock Holmes for being the world’s greatest detective.  The name was soured almost two years ago with a film that could only be called a cinematic disgrace.  But what I can take you is that Enola Holmes helps put all of that behind us.  There’s no shortage of Holmes material, be it the original books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or those that followed.  However, this film brings the Nancy Springer book series to life and it gives Netflix yet another franchise on its hands.  One that the many Holmes fans should enjoy.

We find ourselves taken way back to England in 1884.  Women don’t yet have the right to vote and the country doesn’t know what’s yet to come.  This is where we meet Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) on her 16th birthday.  She soon discovers that her mother (Helena Bonham Carter) is nowhere to be found.  With her mother missing, Enola finds herself under the care of older brothers Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin).  The two have their own plans in mind for their sister–plans that Enola wants nothing to do with.  And so Enola sets off to find her mother in London, crossing paths with Viscount Tewksbury, the Marquis of Basilwether (Louis Partridge) on the run.  While Enola focuses on finding her mother, she soon becomes involved in the Lord’s case.  Who is after him?  And is love in the air?

The Stranger Things star certainly gives this film the heroine it deserves.  She plays the titular hero at the start of her career.  Where her brothers would have her in finishing school, Enola would rather be a free-spirit.  Her old brother, Mycroft has no love for his mother’s feminism and comes off as more of an antagonist.  And yet, this feminism is among many things that are also shaping the turn of the century.

A combination of hair and make-up designer Sian Grigg and costume designer Consolata Boyle give Brown a look that is much different than what fans see on Stranger Things.  This may be a period film in the Victorian era but Brown has a lot of fun along the way.  By going on the case, this also means multiple costume changes, too.

The Browns brought Nancy Springs’s books to Legendary Pictures and the rest is history.  Millie herself also makes for the perfect lead to this franchise.  I love her performance as the youngest member of the Holmes family.  I especially love how the film continually breaks the fourth wall!  Her performance also shows the range that she has as an actress.  Through director Harry Bradbeer’s vision, we have a Holmes film that plays to the time period’s authenticity but in a way, it also feels contemporary.

Henry Cavill steps into the role of the sleuth detective, Sherlock Holmes.  I’m not going to compare his performance with others because he makes it his own.  What he doesn’t know is that his 16-year-old sister is becoming quite the detective herself.  One that could actually rival him!  And while this isn’t a Sherlock Holmes movie, the film provides the character to have some growth especially with the family dynamics.

Daniel Pemberton offers a catchy score that also gives the film an extra pep.  If you ask me, this is the type of score that naturally befits a detective film with a side of action.  Pemberton keeps bringing themes back throughout the film much to our enjoyment.  Also, Pemberton’s score ought to be considered for awards later this year.

Enola Holmes is every bit the franchise starter that it needs to be.

DIRECTOR:  Harry Bradbeer
CAST:  Millie Bobby Brown, Sam Claflin, Adeel Akhtar, Fiona Shaw, Frances de la Tour, Louis Partridge, Burn Gorman, Susan Wokoma, Claire Rushbrook, David Bamber, Hattie Morahan, with Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham Carter

Netflix launches Enola Holmes on September 23, 2020. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.