Taking place in Victorian London, Enola Holmes follows the story of Enola (Millie Bobby Brown), the sister of the renowned Sherlock Holmes, as she wakes up on her 16th birthday to find her mother (Helena Bonham Carter) missing. She reunites with her estranged brothers, Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin), who arrange for her enrollment in a finishing school for “proper” young girls. Rebellious and quick-witted, Enola escapes to London in search of her mother.
The film offers a modern, refreshing twist with its feminist theme despite it being set in the 19th century. Rather than accepting what society planned for her, Enola embarks on a journey to shape her own destiny. In spite of the seriousness of the social justice theme, the movie’s tone was comical, and the characters charmed with their sharp attitudes and witty banter. However, the frequent breaking of the fourth wall by Enola, as she stared directly at the audience, made for an uncomfortable and, sometimes, cringey experience. Addressing the audience was fitting at times but for most of the movie, it hurt my enjoyment of the film.
The movie’s central focus was the disappearance of Enola’s mother, a case Enola was determined to solve and also her primary driving force. Halfway through the film, the plot thickened with intrigue when she crossed paths with Lord Tewksbury, a runaway viscount chased by a mysterious assassin. While I found this additional plot much more enjoyable than the disappearance, the juggling of these two cases led to both being watered down. The mystery of Enola’s mother was dropped in place of Tewksbury’s plight, which is understandable considering they tie together, but the abrupt switch in focus felt jarring and unnatural.
Despite its flaws, Enola Holmes had well-choreographed fight scenes, especially the one where Enola’s fight with the assassin is contrasted with her fighting her mother at a younger age. The flashbacks were also an excellent touch that neatly tied the past and the present together through unspoken explanations. However, my favorite aspect of the movie was the character dynamics, ranging from Enola’s touching relationship with Sherlock to her cute, budding romance with Lord Tewksbury.
The story offers countless twists and turns, making it enjoyable despite its obvious faults. The movie kept me at the edge of my seat, wanting to know what would happen to the heroine and how she would solve the two mysteries. I highly recommend watching the film for a light-hearted movie night. Enola Holmes was not the typical mystery or historical fiction plot because it did not take itself too seriously, which made it charming and all the more fun.