REVIEW: ‘Enola Holmes’ fails to entertain

Sherlock seems to always gets the spotlight in the Holmes family. This time, though, it’s shared with his siblings.

The result? It’s mixed.

The titular character in this film, played by Millie Bobby Brown, is the younger sister of the famous detective Sherlock (Henry Cavill). Enola, a teenager, has grown up in the countryside with her mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter). However, one morning Enola wakes up and her mother is missing.

In response, Enola’s brothers Sherlock and Mycroft (Sam Claflin) are called in to investigate the situation and look after her. Deciding she can manage on her own, though, Enola decides to go to London and figure out the situation by herself. During her trip to London, Enola meets Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge), who’s dealing with his own family troubles.

“Holmes” doesn’t have the highest stakes, and for a first outing for this character, that’s not a bad thing. However, the Netflix feature does have a major issue, and it’s a complete lack of urgency.

Most of the time, when there’s a mystery to be solved, there’s usually a time limit to do so. The characters have to figure out who the killer is before they strike again, that sort of thing. This was even the case with one of the recent “Sherlock Holmes” movies where the detective had to uncover a scheme to prevent a war.

While there certainly is a need for our characters to accomplish their goal sooner rather than later, the ticking clock that keeps an audience engaged is noticeably missing. The whole picture feels slow, as we follow Enola trying to solve what’s going on, but doing so with seemingly little haste.

Had this been an hour-long episode to a television series, it would have been acceptable. But for a film that clocks in over two hours, it feels like a slog.

ENOLA HOLMES
Courtesy Netflix.

The film probably didn’t need to be that long, either. Unfortunately, there’s some unnecessary sub plots, such as a portion where Enola is forced to go to a finishing school.

Character-wise, Brown is good as the lead. She brings a lot of energy to the role, and captures the inquisitive, quick-thinking nature of such a character. When Enola takes charge, Brown makes it convincing.

The only part about Brown’s performance that doesn’t work, and what really becomes a detriment to the film, is her constant need to break the forth wall. Enola seems to be constantly talking to the camera, at one point she even asks the audience a question like she’s Dora the Explorer. It gets old quick, and does nothing to give the movie the quirky charm it’s going for.

The supporting cast doesn’t get much room to shine here either. Both Sherlock and Mycroft are far too one dimensional. Sherlock seems completely detached while Mycroft is too uptight about what Enola should do next in life. It doesn’t give Cavill or Claflin much room to do anything interesting with their performances.

It’s also unfortunate, since this seemed like an opportunity for the two older siblings to maybe assist Enola in their own unique ways. Instead, the characters seem stereotyped and serve as simple occasional obstacles.

As a family adventure, this film isn’t bad, but at the same time, it doesn’t do a great job in holding one’s attention. To an extent, the film feels a bit like wasted potential, since the lead performance is strong and the filmmakers gave the movie a stylish identity. Because of some issues, though, this becomes harder to recommend. 2.5 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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