Enola outshines her older brother in the feminist “Enola Holmes”

(Illustration by Casper Jay Savoie
The new Netflix original movie is a fun adolescent adventure starring “Stranger Things’” Millie Bobby Brown as Enola Holmes, the clever, wild child little sister of famed detective Sherlock Holmes. Her beloved mother, played by the quirky Helena Bonham Carter, goes missing in London. Desperate to find her, she evades her elder brothers, one of whom wants to ship her off to school for proper Victorian ladies, and a hitman set on killing a young charismatic Lord over an important vote for women’s suffrage.

Unlike her dark and tortured portrayal of Eleven in “Stranger Things,” Millie Bobby Brown brings a youthfully refreshing joy with fourth wall breaks and quick-witted fight scenes She can handle herself well whether it’s jumping off moving trains or fighting in a corset. Brown brought a playful side and showed her strength in comedic roles. 

Similar to Sherlock in many ways, Enola brings out the lovable side of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes character many adaptations don’t show. Henry Cavill, best known as the most recent Superman in the DC Comics movie universe, plays a  compassionate and supportive older brother.

His older brother, on the other hand, is none of that.. Mycroft Holmes, played by “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Me Before You” star Sam Claflin, thought the best thing for Enola was to send her to a girl’s finishing school, where Mycroft-smitten headmistress, played by “Killing Eve”’s Fiona Shaw, tries to tame the 16-year-old Enola. 

The film is set against Victorian England’s women’s suffrage movement, where each Lord’s vote counts for a closely-called race. The almost-sworn-in Lord Tewkesbury and Enola’s paths cross. Someone is after this young runaway lord, played by newcomer Louis Partridge, which causes Enola to take on the lord’s mysterious case.

Over the course of the movie, Enola searches for clues about her mother  Eudoria, mysterious disappearance. She figures out her mother is somehow entangled in potentially dangerous acts, and wonders what she is to do. 

Enola always makes clear her mother named her Enola because Enola spelled backward is alone. She has to decide her future, whether she wants to follow society’s oppressive rules or be her own independent woman. This is Enola’s coming of age story. That’s really the whole theme of the film; it’s about women being seen as equal to their male counterparts and women supporting others. 

Brown and Patridge have that playful young-love-type chemistry. It was light and awkward at times, similar to middle school couples. They clearly enjoyed working together and are probably good friends.

This film was based on a young adult novel series by Nancy Springer titled “The Enola Holmes Series.” Harry Bradbeer, the director, has directed episodes of shows like “Killing Eve” and “Fleabag.” You could see how his past work has influenced his directing choices for this film. The fourth wall breaks are very similar to those Phoebe Waller-Bridge has in her show “Fleabag.”

I would recommend this film to young adolescent girls especially, because of its girl-positive themes and a role model heroine. Films like this, with such a positive influence to which young girls can look up, are hard to find.

About Author

Jordan Jones was hired as the Culture reporter for the Mesa Legend in January of 2020. She is in her second semester at MCC, and she plans to transfer to ASU and get an Interdisciplinary Studies degree in Film Study and Art History. With her degrees and passion for cinema, Jordan intends to become a film archivist.

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