“Sometimes you must dangle your feet in the water in order to attract the sharks.”
Set in 1884 England and based on the Nancy Springer book series (the first novel in the series, “The Mystery of the Missing Marquess”), Enola Holmes entertains with mystery, action, and intrigue in a spin-off story about the daughter of the famous Holmes family.
Enola Holmes (Mille Bobby Brown) finds herself in a unique situation where a family event that brings her brothers Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin) back to Ferndall Hall as their mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter) has mysteriously left so Enola goes on an adventure seeking help from Edith (Susan Wokoma) and finding a young lord (Louis Partridge) while avoiding assassin Linthorn (Burn Gorman) on the way.
Directed by Harry Bradbeer with an adapted screenplay from Jack Thorne. Bradbeer handles the action very well as his Fleabag experience ensures some great comedic moments. The variable, flexible camera work utilizes several “Steadicam” shots.
Thorne’s His Dark Materials experience plays well into the story as filmmakers also use personable techniques like Enola’s constantly breaking “the fourth wall” and talking to the audience. “When looking to travel incognito, it’s safest to travel as a widow. People are always anxious to avoid conversation about death. Widows scare them. And there’s no better disguise than fear,” Enola says to the audience.
Enola expands her formidable independent skills while reinforcing her mother’s learning that ranged from science to self-defense. Enola is confident and “enjoys her own company.” She learns to “help those people who cannot defend themselves.”
Edith helps Enola, but only after Enola resourcefully finds her. “If you want to stay in London, be tough… be tough! Live the life. But don’t do it because you’re looking for someone. Do it because you’re looking for yourself.”
As if Enola doesn’t have enough challenge, she must contend with Inspector Lestrade (Adeel Akhtar) and Miss Harrison (Fiona Shaw) who heads a finishing school. Frances de la Tour also plays a prominent role as The Dowager. Cavill impresses in Sherlock’s role, which has some surprising empathy. The audience will know each cast member very well by the end of this quality two-hour and three-minute film.
Stranger Things actress Brown handles the comedy, action, and drama very well in this title role as audiences get even more entertainment through the stellar supporting cast while Partridge gets a breakout role as Lord Tewksbury. Recommended (*** out of four stars) and rated PG-13 for some violence, especially at the film’s climax (otherwise PG-rated). Available exclusively on Netflix. Hopefully, more installments are on the way.