So what’s the word on Netflix’s Enola Holmes? Before I saw it I had no clue. I never cared to watch its trailer or read a synopsis. But the one thing I did see was the last name, and that’s what caught my attention. After seeing it the other day, I realized something I’ll mention in depth another time. For now, let’s just say I see what Netflix is doing with the social commentary, especially in titles centered around women.
Who Doesn’t Like Mysteries?
Now, if I haven’t said so already then understand. I came up on a variety of cartoons like The Great Mouse Detective, The Adventures of Tin-Tin and the classic Scooby-Doo Where Are You series. I’m sure a lot of us have. They were nothing but detective stories, so it wouldn’t be hard to watch something in the universe of Sherlock Holmes. As a sidebar, I even went so far one time and found a book about his method of madness, titled Mastermind. I still haven’t finished that one yet but it’s on the bucket list.
The movies with Rodney Downey Jr. are what also launched me into the folklore of 221B Baker Street. I can’t forget the series Doctor Strange took part of either. It wasn’t the easiest to be absorbed in but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
So where am I going with this?
If you saw any of those things, you’ll have a sense of what Enola Holmes is about. I had doubts but it does take the form of something Holmes-related. Like my last entry, we have yet another hero’s journey story. How this one works is similar to others. A seemingly ill-equipped teenager is expected to lead a life destined for her, or one she dictates herself. Obviously, she takes the rebellious route and leads us on a path putting her in harms way. It’s the first of her many encounters as a heroine.
Luckily, she was raised by an active mother who instilled in her certain skills. Come to think of it, Enola was a bit like a Lara Croft but without all the weapons and gear, just wit and a determination to reach her mother like Croft was about her father.
With only a trail of breadcrumbs, and a pocket full of Mycroft’s money, she was bound to follow wherever they would lead her. Why? Because not knowing the reason to her mother’s absence drove her to take that leap of faith. Like Joel in Love and Monsters, she wanted things to be as they once were. During her search, she bumps into a boy who’s later revealed to be central to the story. They form a tight bond providing our heroine Enola with a newfound purpose; saving the boy’s life.
Enola was also met with the challenge of her older brothers who greatly underestimated her. I don’t fault them, who wouldn’t be overprotective of their kid sister? At the same time, it doesn’t mean much if you’re absent from someone’s life as they were, or view them as the child you once knew but no longer exist. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that life outside of you will move right along without your participation.
But Sherlock and Mycroft especially were necessary for Enola’s transformation, and a reason to not conform to the dominant attitudes of her time. It also helped being her mother’s child.
Note: How they portrayed Mycroft in comparison to other films was like night and day.
The Politics of Enola
Enola Holmes was a political movie that pinpointed the Suffrage movement*, as well as the struggle between the old guard and the young. The former* was rather subtle but the movie has its fair share of suggestions you can’t miss if you tried. A scene that stuck out was between Sherlock and Edith, a tough brass if there ever was one. Not only did they have Edith of all people deliver the movie’s main message, it explained why Enola’s mother went into hiding. That wasn’t the only scene to stick out in my opinion.
In an earlier scene you saw Enola discover her mother behind closed doors with several other women. Before knowing its meaning I thought, maybe she was in some secret society who meets in private and wears matching emblems to symbolize their order. In truth, her mother was a radical who engaged in guerrilla warfare. Imagine growing up being the child of someone like that.
It’s a solid mystery movie if you can stomach it. Not everybody’s gonna be interested in a Holmes tale without Sherlock at point, although it kept my interest with its constant breaking of the fourth wall for example. I will say there was a plot twist that caught me off-guard, and one scene toward the end I thought was funny, but wasn’t suppose to be. If my friend is being strangle to death, I don’t think a flashback is the best reaction to have. That’s movies for you.
Aside from that, the rise of Enola Holmes all came together in the end. She saved the day, solved two mysteries that solidified her cred and became what she always believed herself to be. I don’t think it’s any more to say other than watch it if you’re into mysteries, or movies with a couple quotables to say the least.