Movie Review: Enola Holmes (Bradbeer, 2020)

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Movie: Enola Holmes 

Production Companies: Legendary Pictures, PCMA Productions

Director: Harry Bradbeer

Producers: Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Ali Mendes, Millie Bobby Brown, Paige Brown

Scriptwriter: Jack Thorne

Main Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Helena Bonham Carter

Release Date: September 23rd 2020

Running Time: 123 minutes

Certificate: 12


Who doesn’t love a story centred in the Sherlock Holmes universe? That leads me nicely into a film which did very well on Netflix back in the first pandemic in 2020: Enola Holmes. Enola Holmes was praised for its performances, especially Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill, and its use of narration and fourth wall breaks. So, with a sequel set for release on Netflix in a couple of months, why not look back at a film that served to remind everyone why Henry Cavill could be the next Bond? Now, let’s get into the review of the film…..


Enola Holmes is based on the first book in Nancy Springer’s series The Enola Holmes Mysteries. It obviously follows the titular character as she searches for her missing mother: Eudoria Holmes (Bonham Carter). Enola (Brown) was trained by her mother as a way to encourage her to become independent within the confines of Victorian society. And yes, Enola may be living in the shadow of her two famous older brothers who are also detectives: Sherlock (Cavill) and Mycroft (Claflin) Holmes. Not really sure you’ll have heard of them….

Anyway, On her journey to find her mother, Enola finds herself grappling with the sexist constraints of Victorian society. She also slowly discovers the fact that her mother might be hiding something from her. Also, it feels slightly weird that Sherlock didn’t work out that their mother was potentially involved in something dangerous but that’s besides the point. So, without further ado, let’s get into the analysis portion of the review.


Millie Bobby Brown’s Performance in Enola Holmes

To begin my analysis of Enola Holmes, I’m going to discuss the elephant in the room: Millie Bobby Brown’s performance as Enola. Now, while she might be most famous for Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown delivers an excellent performance as Enola. Oh and she manages to outshines Henry Cavill’s Sherlock. Now while that may be deliberate given whose film this is, take nothing away from Brown’s performance which is delightful at points. So what are some examples of her great performance in the film? Well, let’s take her interactions with Sherlock and Mycroft as an example.

Especially in their first interaction, we see the stoicness of Sherlock contrasted with the bubbly and infectious humour of Enola. This is a perfect example of the infectious joy that Millie Bobby Brown brings to the character of Enola. However, it’s not just the comedy Brown brings to Enola as seen by the fight scenes. Take the one of Enola fighting in a warehouse full of explosives. This shows the range of Brown’s performance. It also acts as a way for the film to show that Enola is capable of living up to the lofty standards of Sherlock, Eudoria and Mycroft.

Henry Cavill’s Performance in Enola Holmes

While Millie Bobby Brown may be the star of this film, take nothing away from Henry Cavill who manages to put in a great performance. Albeit this performance is obviously limited by the reduced screen time. Might have something to with this being a film about Enola, not Sherlock. So, what makes this performance so good? Well, for a start his chemistry with Millie Bobby Brown’s Enola. Take the scene where Sherlock and Enola are sitting in an apple tree talking.

Here, we see Sherlock being a stereotypical big brother trying to reassure Enola about her future. This is just one example of Cavill shining in the film as the reassuring older brother. Also, another example of Cavill’s good performance in Enola Holmes is the little subtleties he brings to Sherlock. Take for example the ending scene where we see that Enola has succeeded in foiling a bomb plot. The little nod and chuckle Cavill does conveys a sense that he’s proud of Enola despite Mycroft’s protestations. Honestly, just make this man James Bond already….

Fourth Wall Breaks in Enola Holmes

To conclude my analysis of Enola Holmes, I’m going to discuss something which may seem a bit out of the blue: the use of fourth wall breaks in the film. Now while Enola Holmes didn’t popularise the use of fourth wall breaks, it certainly continued a recent trend in media: the narrator using them to talk directly to the audience. Take the scenes where Enola introduces her family as examples. Here, we see Enola speaking straight down the lens which helps tell the audience that the film’s tone is going to be more irreverent and funny when compared to other Sherlock related media.

Also, it helps get the obvious family connection out of the way and establishes how Enola had to work twice as hard to gain recognition. Not sure if that has anything to do with Sherlock being a renowned detective or not…. Anyway, another good reason for the film to use them is it allows the film to get details across to the audience that would waste time in the script otherwise. Just take the family relations and training voiceover as examples….


To summarise Enola Holmes, this is a fun, irreverent adaptation of a popular book series which demonstrates the comedic and acting chops of Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill. It also helps launch a new Sherlock Holmes related franchise whilst also just being a great way to kill some spare time on Netflix.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10 – Okay

Target Audience: 12+

Content Warning: Mild Violence and Gore, Mild Frightening and Intense Scenes

Recommendation: Yes