Enola Holmes: Brilliance or Bust?



The cast of Enola Holmes (Henry Cavill, Milly Bobby Brown, Sam Clafflin).

Savannah Young, Staff Writer

On September 23, 2020, Netflix released its newest original film, “Enola Holmes”. The film was inspired by Nancy Springer’s book series by the same name and stars Millie Bobby Brown as the titular character. The cast also includes DC’s Henry Cavill as Sherlock, The Hunger Games’ Sam Clafflin as Mycroft, and Helena Bonham Carter as Eudoria Holmes. 

Although I haven’t personally read the Enola Holmes series, it’s now on my “to read” list. The filmthough not part of the Sherlock Holmes cannon, flawlessly shows off Mycroft’s sarcasm and Sherlock’s wit all the while telling a new story. 

The film’s main character, Enola Holmes, comes across as headstrong, fiery, and determined, yet flawed. There are countless films where the female protagonist either sits back and does nothing at all or they do everything with no mistakes. That’s not the case for Enola. In the first ten minutes of the movie, we can already see that she’s not perfect. We can see her struggling to balance a bicycle, falling face first into the ground moments later. She even admits that “cycling isn’t one of her core strengths”. And no, it’s not the fact that she’s not good at a certain activity- it’s the fact that she accepts and admits it. 

As the film continues, Enola continues to grow as a character. She gets stronger, shows compassion, and even opens up to those around her after being relatively alone most of her life, aside from being her mother. Her relationships with others continues to grow, too, especially with her brothers and new-found friendViscount Tewksbury (played by Louis Partridge). 



Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) and Viscount Tewksbury (Louis Partridge) search for clues on the local newspaper. (Netflix)


As amazing as the film is, there are some downsides. The main goal of the film was to find Enola’s mother. This was largely overshadowed by a secondary, much larger, plot. I mean, if you watch the trailer, you’ll see that it’s about finding Enola’s mother. However, as the secondary plotline continued, I started to like it more than the original. I felt like it was a turning point for Enola, who, until that very moment, hadn’t really cared about anyone about herself, her mother, and her family. 

There was also the issue with the Holmes brothers. Both Sherlock and Mycroft lacked in character in the film. Sherlock, portrayed as quiet and observant, did nothing to help his sister at first, even though she looked up to him. He just stood by and let her do what she needed to do. It’s only towards the end that we see a change him.  

As for Mycroft, he was even more pessimistic than he was portrayed in the Sherlock Holmes novels. Yes, he was sarcastic, witty, and annoyed the entire movie, which stays true to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original interpretation of him. However, the sub-plot with Mycroft and the governess was all around uncomfortable and a part of me wishes it hadn’t been included.  

In the end, films like Enola Holmes not only promotes strong female characters but also models healthy relationships for its audience. Overall, I’d give this film 8/10 popcorn buckets. For, while the characters, character and relationship development were incredible, the main goal was ignored for a large part of the film. It was, however, replaced by a much larger, more interesting plot. 


In the end, although the film has its flaws, it’s still amazingly well done. Overall, I’d give this film 8 out of 10 popcorn buckets. 




So, have you watched Enola Holmes? If you have, did you like it? If not, are you planning on watching it? 





Q&A about Enola Holmes: 


  1. Favorite Character: By far, my favorite character would have to be Tewksbury. Upon first meeting him, I thought he was petty and ungrateful. However, as the film went on, we saw a new side to him. He truly cared about Enola and showed an even softer side when talking about flowers and herbs, which he learned about from his father. Without going into spoiler territory, I nearly had a heart attack within the last twenty-five minutes of the movie, sitting on the edge of my seat. Did I mention how far he’d come since the beginning of the film? No? Well, he’s come around just as far as Enola and Sherlock.  


  1. Character I think could have been improved: I understand that Mycroft was meant to be pessimistic and sarcastic, I just wish they would have added in his humor a bit more. He’s typically very witty when it comes to comebacks, but he lacked personality and relatability in this film. 


  1. Favorite relationship: Although I love the dynamic between Enola and Tewksbury, I’m going to have to go with Enola and Sherlock. Relationships aren’t always about romance. They’re about love and respect. Whether that’s between a mother and her child, two siblings, or two friends. Sherlock and Enola, without spoiling anything, are the perfect example of two people who think alike and relate to each other but are too afraid to share that with one another. By the end of the film, I was left satisfied with how far they came in their relationship with one another, even after not seeing each other for so long. I hope they expand their relationship if they decide to make a sequel. 


  1. Favorite Scene: I loved the last half hour of the film the most. Especially when she finally does something that she had been trying to the whole movie. She took her time and thought about what her mother said, and finally mustered up the strength and skill to do it. By doing that, she proved to herself that she could truly do anything that she put her mind to.  


  1. Should they make a sequel: Part of me says yes, while the other half says no. I would love to see a follow up and get more information about Enola’s parents. I’d also be interested to see how she improves her relationship with Mycroft and continues to form a relationship with Sherlock. The Enola Holmes book series includes six novels, so it’s possible, if the reviews are good, that there are more films to come.