Millie Bobby Brown owes a great deal to Netflix, and vice versa. As the break-out star of the hit "Stranger Things," the sixteen-year-old actress is now branching out into feature films...and as the young, adventurous "Enola Holmes," she might have just landed smack-dab in the middle of what could be a very popular movie franchise-in-the-making for the streaming service that helped catapult her career.
Brown stars as "Enola Holmes," the fictional teenage sister to the fictional legendary detective, Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill). At the time this film's story takes place, Enola has all the booksmarts and all the intuition of her older, already-famous brother Sherlock, but is a bit more unrefined and rough around the edges. In fact, as a young lady, much more is expected out of her from society, and from her other demanding older brother, Mycroft Holmes (Sam Claflin).
As tends to happen when a Holmes is involved, there is a mystery afoot, and this one hits close to home...at home, in fact. Their mother (Helena Bonham Carter) has gone missing, and the Holmes brothers have returned from London to investigate. Elona discovers some clues as to her mother's whereabouts and sets off on her own to find her mum. On the road, she meets the young Lord Tewksbury (Louis Partridge), a "useless boy" that she seems quite taken by, in that adorable teenage sort of way.
"Elona Holmes" is directed by Harry Bradbeer, who also directed episodes of the hit show "Fleabag." He uses some of the same tricks here, although mindful of this film's PG-13 rating and family-friendly audience. Enola often breaks the fourth-wall, for example, to address the audience or just to cast a glance here and there when she hears something ridiculous. Brown infuses the character with charm and energy, and she's by far the funnest Holmes ever to grace a screen.
This film is based on the series of novels by author Nancy Springer, "The Enola Holmes Mysteries." This particular tale is pulled directly from the first book, "The Case of the Missing Marquess," and there were six novels in total...so there is plenty of fodder for future chapters.
The good news is that further chapters would be welcome, if they all strike the same tone as this one. There's nothing too ground-breaking or life-changing here, but it's just a fun, fast-paced adventure starring an exuberant young woman with a magnetic quality about her (applying to both Brown and the character she plays). It's also fun for adults to see the world of Sherlock Holmes explored with a fresh set of young eyes, and to see that young Enola is every bit the match for what we once thought was his unmatched brilliance.
This film never delivers us a true mystery...there is no "unraveling the mystery" scene at the end like we've grown accustomed to with Sherlock, and the film tends to feel a bit long in spots. But "Enola Holmes" is a great way to spend a Saturday night, and as for future installments? Well, that's just elementary, my dear.
Genre: Adventure, Crime, Drama.
Run Time: 2 hours 3 minutes.
Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Helena Bonham Carter, Fiona Shaw.
Directed by Harry Bradbeer (feature-film directorial debut).
"Enola Holmes" is streaming on Netflix as of Friday, September 25th, 2020.
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