While searching for her missing mother, intrepid teen Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) uses her sleuthing skills to outsmart big brother Sherlock and help a runaway lord.
Harry Bradbeer is a director that is quite well known within the television industry thanks to wonderful shows such as Ramy, Killing Eve, and Fleabag, but he hasn’t dabbled too heavily into the feature film department. His latest effort in the field, Enola Holmes, is a gleefully fun and whimsical family adventure that succeeds in many departments, even if it doesn’t offer anything massively groundbreaking.
What makes the film incredibly enjoyable is the lead performance from Millie Bobby Brown, who you probably recognize best in the role of Eleven in the hit Netflix science-fiction horror series Stranger Things. But ever since the show’s debut in 2016, Brown has proven herself to be an amazing actress in projects such as Godzilla: King of the Monsters and it seems as though she will continue to star in several upcoming projects. Although I do prefer her work in the aforementioned Stranger Things, her performance as the titular Enola Holmes here was terrific.
She brings an extreme sense of warmth and charm to the role and makes the character massively likable. Her comedic timing mixed with her childlike innocence while embarking on the film’s various adventures makes for a great performance and one that is sure to impress many. She also has really strong chemistry with her co-stars Henry Cavill and Louis Partridge in particular. It truly felt like all of the actors had an absolute blast filming this project and it shines through virtually every scene.
Despite the fact that Sherlock Holmes himself is a character in the movie, I wasn’t nearly as interested in him as I was with the titular Enola, and that’s a good thing. It was honestly something I was really worried about going into the film – how will they be able to make Sherlock Holmes’ sister more interesting than Sherlock himself? But, to my surprise, they pulled it off. All of the character development here was handled quite well, and it’s usually not filled with exposition. There are some scenes like that of course, but there aren’t too many gratefully.
Because this is a family film, don’t expect this to be a heavily violent and engrossing story that will suck you right in. It’s not the film’s purpose. It never once tries to be anything more than a fun small-scale adventure with a great central romance and some fun character beats along the way. Some of the plot points can be extremely familiar and the film does play out a little bit predictable at times, but it doesn’t take away from the fun for the most part.
The film does outstay its welcome a little bit towards the end seeing as how the running time clocks in at one-hundred and twenty-three minutes. During the final thirty minutes or so, it seemed as if the screenwriters were running out of good ideas for where to take the story next, unfortunately. But for the most part, Enola Holmes is a perfectly enjoyable family adventure filled with a ton of heart thanks to the charming lead performance from Millie Bobby Brown and its script. If they decide to make a sequel down the road, I would be more than happy to go on another journey with Enola and company.
Enola Holmes is a whimsical family adventure filled with tons of heart thanks to the script and the wonderfully charming lead performance from Millie Bobby Brown.
Overall Grade: B
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence
Directed by: Harry Bradbeer
Distributed by: Netflix
Release Date: September 23, 2020
Running Time: 123 minutes