Harry Bradbeer’s Enola Holmes, with a screenplay penned by Jack Thorne, is an adaptation of Nancy Springer’s The Case of the Missing Marquess. The titular character, whilst she doesn’t exist in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works, is very much a presence in The Enola Holmes Mysteries.
The film, for people not familiar with British history is set shortly before the Representation of the People Act of 1884. The act, having successfully passed the House of Lords, extended the electorate to include “all men over 21 and all women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification, or whose husband did. Curiously, if you were wondering, there was no property qualification for men. This represented 8.5 million women — two thirds of the total population of women in the UK.”
Millie Bobby Brown, best known for playing Eleven in the Netflix’s Stranger Things, does an exceptional job breathing life into the Springer created character. Enola, not willing to conform to the path others choose for her, is definitely a Holmes. The titular character is enigmatic, imaginative, brilliant, and immensely quirky.
Brown, with fairly easy going mannerisms, embodies the best parts of Springer’s character. Extraordinary is too small a word to describe Brown’s performance.
Eudoria Holmes, played by Helena Bonham Carter, is missing. Sherlock and Mycroft, respectively played by Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin, return home and find a free-spirited unconventional young woman in the shape of their sister Enola Holmes.
Enola, something Mycroft finds utterly distasteful, possesses is a blissfully independent soul. Her daily curriculum, as detailed by Enola herself, comprises of astrology, herbology, beekeeping, and jujutsu.
It doesn’t take long for Mycroft, Enola’s legal guardian, to establish himself as an obnoxious arse. This Mycroft, clearly misogynistic, doesn’t understand some women would prefer men not treat them as objects. Mycroft, not caring what his younger sister wants, intends to send Enola to a stuffy boarding school that caters to young women.
Sherlock, far more reserved than his older brother, doesn’t want to stifle Enola’s free-spirit. The younger brother, quietly sympathetic to his sister’s cause, is too self-interested to help. Each Holmes: Eudoria, Sherlock, Mycroft, and Enola, regardless of societal expectations, all follow their own path.
Further to Brown, Cavill, Claflin, and Bonham Carter, Thorne’s adaptation also stars Louis Partridge, Burn Gorman, Adeel Akhtar, and Susan Wokoma as Lord Viscount Tewkesbury, Linthorn, Lestrade, and Edith, respectively.
Bamber, since at least the early 1980’s, has developed a remarkable reputation as a character actor. Many of the productions the Manchester born actor is associated with, mostly period dramas, have been positively received.
De la Tour, having memorably played Madame Olympe Maxime in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, brings a touch of class to The Dowager. Shaw, another Harry Potter alumna, quintessentially fits Dickensian headmistress Miss Harrison very nicely.