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Monday, September 6, 2021

Movie Review - Enola Holmes

Movie Blurb: "When Enola Holmes—Sherlock’s teen sister—discovers her mother missing, she sets off to find her, becoming a super-sleuth in her own right as she outwits her famous brother Sherlock and unravels a dangerous conspiracy around a mysterious young Lord. Starring Millie Bobby Brown,  Henry Cavill (Superman), and Helena Bonham-Carter (Harry Potter and  King's Speech)."

What's it About?:  Enola Homes is based on the first book in the young-adult fiction series by Nancy Springer. The story is about the teenage sister of the already-famous Sherlock Holmes, who travels to London to find her missing mother but ends up on a thrilling adventure, pairing up with a runaway lord as they attempt to solve a mystery that threatens the entire country.  

Enola's mother, and therefore Sherlock's mother, raised her in seclusion to be smart and capable of defending herself.  It becomes clear that the Holmes matriarch had something planned or was hiding from somebody.  This adds to the overall mystery.

A Change Of Plans:  The movie was originally planned to be release by Warner Bros. Pictures in movie theaters, but then Covid hit.  The distribution rights for the film were then picked up by Netflix and the release was solely on the paid subscription site on September 23, 2020. 

Reviews:  It received overall positive reviews from critics (91% Rotten Tomatoes and praised Brown's performance). It was one of the most-watched original Netflix films with an estimated 76 million households watching the film in the first four weeks of release.  

Peter Debruge of Variety called the film an "entertaining franchise starter" and praised Brown's performance and found the film "more tasteful in its high-energy storytelling than Guy Ritchie's recent Sherlock Holmes.

Legal Troubles: However, the Conan Doyle Estate filed a lawsuit against Netflix over the film.  The estate claims the movie violates copyright by depicting Sherlock Holmes as having emotions.  It seems that the few stories in the Sherlock canon that were written with Sherlock displaying any emotions (in 1923 and 1927) haven't reached the 100 year copywrite expiration.  Henry Cavill said that his portrayal of Sherlock was "a lot more emotional to begin with, so we pared it back, and we said, 'alright, let's not make it too emotional'."  My thoughts on the lawsuit is that an actor does have some artistic license to portray a character and make it his.  That is what acting is all about.

My thoughts:

I love the idea of Sherlock having a sister and Enola seems perfect.  She is unexpected, smart but is still honing her deductive skills, impetuous, wily, and yet still a touch na├»ve and trusting.  I adore Henry Cavill's portrayal of Sherlock and how he would feel towards a younger sister.  I grant you the movie is more of an intrigue tale than a sleuthing story, but I also think it needed to wow audiences to ensure a follow up movie.  The good news is that there will be a second movie and it should start filming this fall.

Overall, it is an entertaining movie with excellent acting and the story keeps moving.  I enjoyed this far more than the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock franchise - by far!  I loved it and highly recommend.  If you haven't seen it yet, treat yourself.

Movie trailer:

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