Arts movie review

A breezy mystery that strikes home the importance of finding one’s own path

There is so much more than the mystery of a missing mother that needs investigating 

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Millie Bobby Brown stars as Enola Holmes in the eponymous thriller, now streaming on Netflix.
Courtesy of Legendary Entertainment

Enola Holmes
Directed by Harry Bradbeer
Screenplay by Jack Thorne
Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Sam Claflin, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter
Rated PG-13
Streaming on Netflix

“I don’t want a mystery,” says a frustrated Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) who wants everything to go back to the normal she was accustomed to as a child. However, she is given not one, but two mysteries to solve.

The story of Enola Holmes is centered around the titular, lesser-known younger sister of Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin) Holmes. Enola is too young when her father dies and brothers leave the house to find their own paths in life. She grows up alone with her widowed mother, Eudoria Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter), which is fitting because “Enola” spelled backwards is “Alone.”

Enola is educated by her mother in science and martial arts. Everything in her life seems to be going well until one day, Eudoria mysteriously disappears. Enola writes to her brothers to ask for their help in finding their mother. Mycroft, however, thinks that Enola needs proper education and must be sent off to a boarding school where she can be turned into a “proper” lady as per the societal definition. Enola, who doesn’t want to be sent off to a finishing school, runs away from home in search of her mother. The rest of the movie unfolds as Enola attempts to unravel the mystery of her missing mother while getting herself involved in solving another mystery.

Enola Holmes is not about finding out why Eudoria left home. Instead, the movie is all about Enola learning the ways of society and how she faces society with her pure innocence. Initially, we see Enola abiding by the rules Eudoria taught her. Later on, however, Enola makes the decisions she thinks are right, though Eudoria would not have approved of them. This independent decision-making is what gets Enola pulled into the mystery of the missing marquess.

Unlike most mystery movies that run on a serious note, Enola Holmes is breezy. Whether it is Enola trying to adjust to the rules in her boarding school, investigating a mystery while pretending to be Sherlock’s assistant, or attempting to be a “proper” lady as per the societal norms, the scenes always have an element of humor attached.

We see Enola’s emotional growth throughout the movie, from setting out to find her mother to understanding the ways of society to outsmarting her brothers while solving a mystery. Besides saving someone’s life, Enola contributes greatly to bringing a revolutionary change in the outdated laws of society through constructive means. We see a girl who is hell-bent on finding out why her mother left home grow into someone who accepts that Eudoria had her own reasons and should not be judged for that.

Brown does a great job of playing Enola by portraying her innocence and determination while capturing the emotional growth of the character. Cavill does not cease to impress us in his role by rendering not only the emotionless attitude of Sherlock but also the mild amusement and immense pride he takes in Enola’s abilities to solve a mystery. Clafin is so brilliant at bringing Mycroft to life that we can’t help but detest his character.

The greatest message Enola Holmes conveys is through Enola, who learns that being alone is not the same as being lonely. She understands that one has to choose their own path in life. Although a little slow at times, the movie is sure to engage the audience in the search for the truth. It is undoubtedly one of the breeziest thrillers of recent times.