Netflix's new movie, Enola Holmes, is officially a hit among critics. The new spin on a classic character features clever writing, an A-list cast and overall superb execution. For anyone still harboring doubts about the movie, take a look at some reviews and see if you can be convinced.
Enola Holmes is a new Netflix film based on a novel called The Enola Holmes Mysteries: The Case of the Missing Marquess. It stars Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown as the titular character, along with Henry Cavill as her older brother, Sherlock Holmes; Sam Claflin as Mycroft Holmes, and Helena Bonham Carter as Eudoria Holmes. In this story, Sherlock is already a widely renowned detective, but his younger teenage sister, Enola, is tired of living in his shadow. She takes matters into her own hands when she finds that her mother (Carter) has disappeared on the day of her 16th birthday.
The story illustrates that Enola is often punished for displaying many of the same characteristics that made Sherlock famous — her strong will, intelligence and creative thinking. Even while she's trying to unravel a mystery, her older brother Mycroft looms with the threat of sending her away to finishing school before she can find her mother.
Fans of the movie are in luck since the story in Enola Holmes is just the first in a series written by author Nancy Springer. Judging by the popularity of the film so far, there is hope that more could be on the way. Here is a look at the reviews for Netflix's Enola Holmes in its first week out.
'Millie Bobby Brown's Show'
Vulture critic Bilge Ebiri gave Enola Holmes a glowing review — particularly the performance of Brown. Like many others, Ebiri also praised the conceit of the story, which goes back to Springer's novels. He notes that many "imitators" have attempted to "mimic" or "expand" on the Sherlock Holmes mythology, but Enola Holmes found success by sidestepping it altogether.
"Enola Holmes the movie doesn't even try to feel like a Sherlock Holmes story," he wrote. "It's smart enough to be very much its own thing, and that thing very much belongs to its young star, Millie Bobby Brown."prevnext
In a review for Rolling Stone, critic David Fear also identified Brown as the undisputed star of the show, and praised the movie for centering Enola in that way. He wrote: "Enola is not just a chip off of Sherlock’s block, she’s also got a little bit of Jason Bourne, Nancy Drew, Hermione Granger and Rey Skywalker thrown in for good measure here."
Still, Fear noted the impossible-to-ignore scent of franchise on this movie, speculating that Netflix hopes to adapt all of Springer's Enola Holmes novels and more, if it keeps the views coming in. He wrote that the movie could have felt like "a crass I.P. grab," had it not been for the subtext of the story, and the strength of Brown's performance.prevnext
Hanh Nguyen of Salon commented that Enola Holmes has given Brown the space to show off "more personality and greater range than she ever did as Eleven on Stranger Things." Unlike other reviewers, Nguyen compared Enola not to contemporary feminist heroes, but to Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag.
Hanh admitted — as some other critics alluded to — that neither of the central mysteries of Enola Holmes "is particularly engaging," but that the action, the comedy and the coming-of-age story all help fill in the gaps.prevnext
The most negative review about Enola Holmes circulating out there may be Jesse Hassenger's review for The A.V. Club, but even that is far from a takedown. Hassenger called the mysteries "dull," and the movie as a whole "disappointing."
"Without much of a mystery to solve, this young Holmes comes across more like a junior-level Wonder Woman: intelligent and highly trained yet puzzled by this unfamiliar, unfair world of men," he wrote.prevnext
The Independent uses a concrete five-star rating scale on its site, allowing critic Clarisse Loughrey to quantify her review in three stars. She praise Enola Holmes as "a young heroine to inspire the next generation," and praised the movie for giving Brown a chance to stretch her wings. However, she noted that the source material was "a woman's book, filtered through a man's script, then another man’s camera."prevnext
Allen Adams contemplates Enola Holmes in the broader context of the entire Sherlock Holmes mythos in a review for The Maine Edge. He calls the story "a new path through this well-worn landscape," as Sherlock Holmes has been a constant in pop culture for over a century now. Still, like many others, Adams sees how this new iteration could resonate with young viewers.
"There's an undeniable charm to this film, a basic wholesomeness that is utterly appealing even as it occasionally veers into the realm of the cornball. It is goofy and fun, with a healthy sprinkling of empowerment and a top-notch collection of supporting talent," he wrote.prevnext
'Free From Burdens'0comments
Finally, The Verge critic Joshua Rivera noted how Enola Holmes freed this beloved mystery franchise from the "burdens" of Sherlock. Rivera argued that Holmes is "malleable," with characteristics changing wildly between different performances, but that his basic misanthropy remained the shackle around all of his stories. Enola, he argued, could get the mystery genre out of that rut.
"As an adaptation of a YA book series, Enola Holmes isn't out to be a clever reinvention, just a pleasant and progressive one, envisioning a world where a young woman can prove herself just as capable, if not more so, than grown men who are afforded the space to be brilliant and whatever they wish," Rivera wrote. "It tells you this with its outside voice, both in Enola's narration and again through character's conversations with one another, unwilling to break from the YA fiction tradition of declaring its themes out loud." Enola Holmes is streaming now on Netflix.prev