The first reviews for Netflix’s Enola Holmes are now in, and the family mystery movie sounds like it could well be another big hit for the streaming giant. Centering on the teenage sister of an already famous Sherlock Holmes, and based on a series of novels by Nancy Springer, is Netflix’s take on Enola Holmes a worthy adaptation?
Variety praised the central performance of Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, comparing the actress’ work to that of another famous period piece.
“Brown’s acting style recalls the effusive spontaneity Keira Knightley brought to Sense and Sensibility, shattering the straitlaced propriety of so many Jane Austen adaptations before it.”
The review over at Digital Spy echoed these sentiments, showering Brown’s ability to ground what could have been an irritating character, though they did take some issue with the movie as a whole, with the critic concluding, “Millie Bobby Brown is terrific as Enola Holmes, charismatic & endearing in a role that could have been irritating. It’s a shame the mystery itself just isn’t that interesting.” Sadly, Flickering Myth also found Enola Holmes to be lacklustre affair, finding the movie to be rather meandering and saying that it does not quite live up to expectation; “An infuriating near-miss of a movie where the biggest mystery is why it’s so long and meandering.”
The Hollywood Reporter however, found Enola Holmes to be a delightful slice of cinematic escapism, commending the creation of a world for the central character separate from her famous older brother.
“It successfully imagines a place for its heroine in Sherlock Holmes’ world, then convinces young viewers that Enola needn’t be constrained by that world’s borders.”
Empire, who scored the movie a respectable 3 out of 5, took issue with the way the Netflix original movie handles some of its themes but ultimately found Enola Holmes to be a vibrant experience.
“Well-intentioned if sometimes lacking in subtlety, Enola Holmes offers a fine, spirited reminder that a traditional story can always be retold – although it might need more refined teachings on feminism next time.”
The review over at the Daily Mirror similarly found the movie to be cheery time spent in front of the screen, and again praised Brown’s performance, but unfortunately did find Enola Holmes to be a pretty forgettable flick that wastes its formidable cast; “Enola Holmes is a breezy family adventure that confirms further stardom for Millie Bobby Brown. However, it is ultimately lacking in memorability and does not utilise its cast effectively.”
Solzy at the Movies though thoroughly enjoyed Enola Holmes, even hoping that it will be the beginning of something new for the mysterious world of the Holmes’.
“With the wit and charm of Millie Bobby Brown at the forefront, Enola Holmes makes for a fresh start of a new detective franchise.”
Enola Holmes currently sits at 78% on Rotten Tomatoes with more reviews to follow, and whilst it does not sound like it will be winning many awards, it could very well win over audiences thanks to its sense of joyful adventure and an enthralling central performance from Millie Bobby Brown.
It should come as no surprise that Brown’s performance has emerged as the main selling point for Enola Holmes, with director Harry Bradbeer having previously lauded the young actress’s “extraordinary level of spontaneity and invention” as well as her bravery, with the actress throwing herself into the physical aspects of the role. “Whether you were dunking her in a bucket of water and trying to drown her or throwing fireworks at her, she was just so up for it”, he said of the 16-year-old star.
Netflix’s Enola Holmes is an adaptation of the mystery-thriller book series of the same name, written by Nancy Springer. The source material on which the movie will be based chronicles the adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister Enola, who is a creation of Springer’s and not part of the established Sherlock Holmes canon, who, when her mother disappears, decides to become a super-sleuth in her own right. Running away to London where she establishes a clandestine private detective career specializing in missing person investigations, Enola must also keep ahead of her brothers who are determined to capture and force her to conform to their expectations.
The official synopsis for the Netflix adaptation is as follows, “England, 1884 – a world on the brink of change. On the morning of her 16th birthday, Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) wakes to find that her mother (Helena Bonham Carter) has disappeared, leaving behind an odd assortment of gifts but no apparent clue as to where she’s gone or why. After a free-spirited childhood, Enola suddenly finds herself under the care of her brothers Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin), both set on sending her away to a finishing school for “proper” young ladies. Refusing to follow their wishes, Enola escapes to search for her mother in London.
But when her journey finds her entangled in a mystery surrounding a young runaway Lord (Louis Partridge), Enola becomes a super-sleuth in her own right, outwitting her famous brother as she unravels a conspiracy that threatens to set back the course of history. Based on the beloved book series by Nancy Springer, Enola Holmes is a dynamic new mystery-adventure that introduces the world’s greatest detective to his fiercest competition yet: his teenage sister. The game is afoot.”
The upcoming adaptation has amassed some big talent both in front of and behind the camera, and stars Millie Bobby Brown as the title character, Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes, and Sam Claflin as Mycroft Holmes, alongside Fiona Shaw, Adeel Akhtar, and Frances de la Tour, as well as Helena Bonham Carter as Eudoria Holmes, Enola, Sherlock, and Mycroft’s mother. Enola Holmes is directed by Harry Bradbeer and written by Jack Thorne. Bradbeer has seen a lot of success recently with the likes of the hit series’ Fleabag and Killing Eve, whilst Thorne is the writer behind last year’s adaptation of His Dark Materials. Enola Holmes will no doubt prove to be another big success for the streaming giant when it is released on September 23.