“Enola Holmes” Review

Story posted September 28, 2020 in

For those who love mysteries, the Victorian era and stories about inspiring women, “Enola Holmes” is not a film to miss.

Enola Holmes is the free-spirited, firecracker younger sister of Sherlock Holmes. She is just as curious as her older brother and just as dedicated to solving mysteries. In other words, basically a British Nancy Drew.

The film is based on the first book in Nancy Springer’s series “The Enola Holmes Mysteries.”

The film centers around young Enola, played by Millie Bobby Brown, who was raised by her equally defiant mother, Eudoria. When Enola wakes up on the morning of her 16 birthday, she realizes her mother has left home.

When reunited with her two older brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft, she begins solving the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. Rather than attending a school for young women as her brothers suggest, Enola runs away from home in search of her mother.

Along the way, she meets a boy named Viscount Tewksbury. Together, they flee to London then go their separate ways as Enola unravels the mystery that is her mother’s life. Tewksbury, played by breakout actor Louis Partridge, is a perfect match for Enola’s strong-willed personality.

Though it is unclear whether there is a romantic aspect to their relationship, Enola and Tewksbury’s dedication to each other is admirable. The actors’ chemistry is impressive, considering their young ages. Enola is skeptical of Tewksbury when they first meet, but their friendship grows throughout the film.

Although Enola is “alone” spelled backwards, this positive review is not alone. Critics have mostly had positive things to say about the content, plot and acting of “Enola Holmes.”

Brown has been praised for her performance as Enola despite it being her first role as a mature, young woman rather than a child. When she breaks the third wall and talks directly to the camera, viewers truly feel connected to the character as if she’s talking to them.

Brown is well known for her breakout role as Eleven in “Stranger Things.” The British actress was only 12 years old when the Netflix series released its first season in 2016. Now at age 16, Brown has started taking on more dramatic roles, such as “Enola Holmes” and 2018’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”

She is set to reprise her part as Madison Russell in the next film in the Godzilla franchise in 2021.

The other actors’ performances were also incredible. Helena Bonham Carter plays Eudoria, Enola’s mother, serving as a spunky yet tragic mirror to her daughter’s personality.

Henry Cavill’s adaptation of Sherlock was interesting as viewers see a different side of him trying to relate to his younger sister. Sam Claflin played Mycroft and though the character was irritating and frustrating to watch, his progression to help his sister was extremely touching.

The score is as emotional and energetic as the leading lady, matching the tone of the film. The setting of “Enola Holmes,” filmed in various parts of England, fits the Holmes franchise perfectly.

Enola, with a curious spirit like Nancy Drew, thrown into pressures of Victorian England, faces many obstacles. She struggles to fit in and find her purpose, as many young women do across many centuries.

It is clear how impactful Enola’s mother was to her in the film and audiences can take away several life lessons from her as well. For example, Eudoria tells her daughter, “there are two paths you can take, Enola. Yours… or the path others choose for you.”

Though Enola may not fit into the norms of her society, the character is inspirational to many. The film encourages young women to be themselves and chase after the things that matter most to them.


Sarah Simpson is a junior majoring in film-video. To contact her, email sus816@psu.edu