For a long time, I was wandering through the wide expanses of Netflix, but nothing had really taken my fancy, so, when I heard that there would be a new Sherlock Holmes film hitting Netflix, I was pretty excited. As a fan of the BBC’s version, which only seemed to grace our screens once in a blue moon, I was interested to see the interpretation of Conan Doyle’s iconic mysteries. Like my last YA on Screen pick , Enola Holmes is a retelling of a classic tale, reimagined with a female protagonist, also set in a time when women weren’t seen as capable leaders or intellectuals. It’s based off a series by Nancy Springer.
Enola Holmes is the younger sister of Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes, brought up by their mother on their rambling country estate. An avid reader, budding scientist and no stranger to Jiu-Jitsu, it’s safe to say that Enola’s upbringing is atypical for girls at that time. One day, her mother goes missing, and she takes it upon herself to find her, but in order to do so, she’ll have to embark on a treacherous adventure and confront her mother’s secretive past.
Millie Bobby Brown’s portrayal of Enola was the highlight of the film – likable without being pretentious, rebellious without being reckless. Her little chats to the camera were funny and well timed, which made sense, as the film is directed by Fleabag’s Harry Bradbeer, which also used a similar technique. Another favourite was Susan Wokoma’s Edith, who owns a tea shop while teaching Jiu-Jitsu to women in victorian London on the side – an incredible combination if you ask me.
The sprinkling of historical references (like the Third Reform Act of 1884) made the film truly come to life, as well as the beautiful sets, and even watching it on a TV as opposed to the big screen gave an immersive experience.
The film was absolutely jam-packed with positive messages for young girls. At times it felt a tad formulaic, but maybe that is because films discussing these topics aren’t as common and I wasn’t used to seeing messages like this on screen.
One thing that I picked up from the film that I thought was really interesting was the portrayal of the women’s suffrage movement, in particular, the more radical campaigners of the time. It demonstrated that changemakers stand out from the crowd, and are sometimes even ostracised from society; radical ideas rarely come from those who follow the herd. A bold yet necessary theme to include, it really made Enola Holmes stand out as a YA adaptation.
The mystery wasn’t exactly mind-blowing – fans of Holmes are used to quick deductions and seemingly uncrackable cases, but as the film goes on, it becomes clear that that the whodunnit isn’t really that important, and that there are bigger things to worry about.
So, if you’re looking for a fiesty, intelligent and entertaining female lead in a YA reimagination of a classic, exploring the importance of standing up for what you believe in, women’s rights, and believing in yourself, this is one for you, and all the family for that matter.
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