‘Enola Holmes’: Millie Bobby Brown Is the Heroine We Need as Sherlock’s Clever and Determined Sister
After three seasons of “Stranger Things,” Millie Bobby Brown achieves leading lady status in Netflix’s “Enola Holmes.” Based on the book series of the same name by Nancy Springer, this fun mystery adventure sees Enola (Brown), the younger sister of famed detective Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill), go on a detective mission of her own in order to find their mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), following her disappearance
Enola spelled backwards is “Alone,” our heroine tells us, and she believes this is why her mother gave her the name. While Enola hasn’t exactly grown up alone, her father died when she was just a baby and her older brothers, government official Mycroft (Sam Claflin) and the famous Sherlock, flew the nest when she was quite young. Their busy careers and indifference to their mother’s home meant that they were never home. Eudoria, however, was her constant companion who made Enola’s education her first priority. Understandably, Enola’s world is turned upside down when her mother goes missing.
Soon Mycroft and Sherlock arrive home, and what should be a happy reunion soon becomes complicated. It’s mainly Mycroft who is the problem. As the elder brother, he automatically becomes guardian of his 16-year-old sister, and he has some backwards ideas about how to raise a young woman, and scoffs at the feminist literature left behind by Eudoria. Facing finishing school, Enola plans her escape, and clues from her mother lead her to London.
En route to London, Enola collides with Viscount Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge), a young noble who is fleeing from a privileged life that he finds too restricting. Although there’s chemistry between the two, Enola isn’t one to let a pretty boy get in the way of her mission, but the two eventually come together once she discovers that someone is out to kill him. Soon, it becomes clear that there is much more at stake than the life of one young lord.
Brown is no doubt the center of “Enola Holmes,” as the young actor puts all of herself into her performance. Young adult viewers, especially young women, will surely be drawn to Enola’s quest to make her own way and assert her independence, as it is a timeless one.
Meanwhile, Cavill’s Sherlock is passive. While his retreating to the background gives his little sister space to shine, there are moments when one wishes he would speak up more, especially when it comes to his reactionary older brother. He does, however, hop on the trail left behind by his mother, but his sister is several steps in front of him.
Overall, “Enola Holmes” is a more than a worthy heir to her older brother. While he gives her encouragement, it is their mother who has installed in both of them the skills and values they needed to be successful detectives. It all comes full circle in the end when Enola realizes just how instrumental Eudoria has been in shaping the woman she is becoming. Brown takes an already brave and clever character, one who has surpassed Sherlock, and brings a charisma and presence to the role that makes her worth rooting for again and again. With Brown in the lead, there is potential for a lasting franchise.
“Enola Holmes” begins streaming Sept. 23 on Netflix.