The Reel Review
Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) stars as Enola, the charming teenage sister of legendary super sleuth Sherlock Holmes, in this period adventure mystery on Netflix. When the Holmes family matriarch (Helena Bonham Carter) disappears, Enola defies her older brothers Sherlock and Mycroft (Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin) to search for her, in the process uncovering a dangerous conspiracy involving a young lord. The film adaptation is based on the Nancy Springer book series from the mid 2000s.
Director Harry Bradbeer’s period film feels like a mashup of a frenetic, Guy Ritchie action flick and a Nancy Drew mystery, with Brown imbuing in her Enola loads of charm and likability as she frequently breaks the fourth wall to address the viewer during her adventures. The casting is perfection, from Carter, clearly in her wheelhouse as the quirky and mysterious mother with a multitude of interests, to Cavill and Claflin as the two quarrelsome big brothers. But make no mistake – this film is all about Enola and her feminist message of female empowerment.
With a run time of more than two hours, the story suffers from a heavy dose of corniness and does drag a bit at times, particularly in its bloated second act. But it all comes together and the pace picks back up in its third act, culminating in a rousing, entertaining finale.
• Although Millie Bobby Brown says there will be a sequel, Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Netflix, the film’s producers, director Harry Bradbeer, author Nancy Springer and others, claiming the Sherlock Holmes source materials are not yet in the public domain.
• Although Sam Claflin plays the older brother Mycroft to Henry Cavill’s Sherlock, in real life Claflin is three years younger than Cavill.
• Helena Bonham Carter, Fiona Shaw (Miss Harrison) and Frances de la Tour (The Dowager) all appeared in the Harry Potter films.