Enola Holmes ★★★

“Enola Holmes” main target audience are young teenagers, so don´t expect any complexity, depth, or subtlety when it comes to the plot, themes, and messages of the film. Above all, it´s lighthearted, harmless, and escapist entertainment and an overall charming mix of period piece, adventure, mystery, and coming of age.

Production design and costumes are stunning, the cinematography is vibrant, the editing is stylish and energetic, and the fourth wall breaks give the movie a playful and modern vibe (though it overdoes the gimmick a bit). The story is engaging enough, though not very surprising or memorable, and the themes of self-discovery, self-determination, gender roles, and freedom vs. restrictive society are often a bit on the nose but always heartfelt and well-meaning.

Enola herself is a likeable, cute, and quirky character and I had fun following her on her adventure. It´s nice to see Millie play a more active, extroverted, and expressive character and her charisma, charm, and talent are what makes this movie work. Enola could have easily been an obnoxious know-it-all or a boring Mary Sue, but I don´t think that´s the case. I also liked her fun dynamic with Lord Tewkesbury, played by Louis Partridge. When that character was introduced, I feared that he would be the typical dumbass male character, whose main purpose is to make the female lead character look even more brilliant and capable in comparison, but he actually turns out to be a pretty compelling character in his own right (without stealing Enola´s spotlight) and the chemistry between the two is really enjoyable.

Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin play versions of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes that are quite different from what we´ve seen before, but both of them do a good job, though they have less screen time than I expected. I just don´t like that the film implies that Mycroft is less intelligent than his siblings, even though in Doyle´s stories, his deductive abilities are described as equal if not even superior to Sherlock´s. He´s just not interested in detective work. So, I´m fine with Mycroft being the conservative traditionalist that acts as some kind of antagonist for the free-spirited Enola, but he is not the dumb one of the family.

All in all, “Enola Holmes” is an entertaining and charming film for the whole family, but I doubt that it will stay in my mind for long. 10 years ago, when I had my teenage detective phase, I probably would have loved it.

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