While Netflix’s Enola Holmes is a gripping mystery-adventure, it’s the performance of Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), as Enola, a buoyant young lady and the sister of the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes that takes this film to new heights.
On the morning of her 16th birthday in England, 1884, Enola Holmes wakes to find that her mother (Helena Bonham Carter) has disappeared, leaving behind an odd assortment of gifts but no apparent clue as to where she’s gone or why.
After a free-spirited childhood, Enola suddenly finds herself under the care of her brothers Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin), both set on sending her away to a finishing school for young ladies that her brother Mycroft calls “proper.” Refusing to follow their wishes, Enola escapes to search for her mother in London.
As Enola, Brown breaks the fourth wall with a look directly into the camera, and you can read from her face exactly what she’s thinking. It’s probably that look Time magazine described cherubic when Brown was twelve.
Brown’s sunny performance begets a ball-of-fire character and lifts Enola from the pages of Nancy Springer’s books for our viewing pleasure.
It certainly helps that the acting is supported by a clever script, adapted from Springer’s pen by Jack Throne, and the man behind the director’s chair, Harry Bradbeer (The Cops, Killing Eve), seems to have what it takes to create a coherent whole despite all turns and twists.
The scenes are well sequenced. Action is gripping, and the dialogue advances the story if only to stagger some under the howling of Mycroft when Enola shows sudden weakness.
Nonetheless, there’s no doubt that British-born Brown, now only 16, is the future of cinema and that Enola Holmes is a pleasure to watch.
‘Enola Holmes’ premieres on Netflix September 23.