Enola Holmes

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Enola Holmes Movie Poster Image
 Popular with kidsParents recommend
Entertaining period mystery has feminist messages, violence.
  • PG-13
  • 2020
  • 123 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 19 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Women and girls deserve autonomy over their own life choices and lifestyles. They can be as strong and clever as males. Friends and family help each other in times of trouble. Film is set in era shown to be ripe for progressive social reform (sometimes by radical means).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Enola models courage, intelligence, integrity. Her feminist mother has raised Enola outside of society's constrictions to be an intelligent, physically adept free thinker, but hasn't taught her how to interact with others and get by in society. Though Enola's name spells "Alone" backward and she has been taught that she doesn't need company because she has herself, she ultimately opts to put herself in harm's way to save a friend. She knows her mother wouldn't approve of the choice, nor does she necessarily approve of her mother's participation in a radical political movement. Intuitive Sherlock is impressed with Enola's skills, but conservative Mycroft finds her to be wild, dangerous, in need of "breaking" at a strict girls' boarding school. Main characters are White, but supporting cast has more diversity than is typical for Holmes stories set in the past.

Violence

Mrs. Holmes teaches Enola martial arts and combat, which she uses on several occasions. Enola saves Lord Tewksbury from being thrown off a train, then the two teens jump off the moving train together. A man attacks Enola; they have a knock-down brawl that involves knives, explosives, Enola nearly drowning. The man returns in a climactic fight scene that involves (spoiler alert) Enola and Lord Tewksbury getting shot at and the man dying by blunt force to the head (complete with crunching noise). Scotland Yard inspector Lestrade sneaks into Enola's room; she hits him over the head with a teapot, but he still catches her. Mycroft makes Enola cry by shouting at her and taking all her money. School director slaps Enola across the cheek, keeps her in a locked room. Arguments.

Sex

Enola and Lord Tewksbury have an immediate attraction. She saves his life several times, and he saves hers back. They share a quiet moment together in her rented room; she's embarrassed by her undergarments hanging out to dry. He kisses her hand and wonders about their future. At one point, Enola is told that her breasts and hips need "amplification" (via her clothing/fashion).

Language

"Hell," "oh my God," "dear God."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Sherlock and Mycroft meet over drinks in a lounge.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Enola Holmes stars Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) and is based on the book series by Nancy Springer. It's lots of fun, but there's some potentially scary action and violence. Enola (Brown) regularly uses her martial arts and combat training to take down people attacking her, including some who wield weapons like knives and shotguns. (Potential spoiler alerts!) In one fight scene, she appears to have drowned but survives to blow up a building and escape harm. In another, her friend Lord Tewksbury (Louis Partridge) is shot in the chest. Teens escape an assassin by jumping off a train; in a climactic scene, a character dies via blunt force to the head, which includes a nasty crunching noise. Enola also smashes an adult over the head with a teapot, and an authority figure locks her in a room. Language is mild and includes "hell," "oh my God," and "dear God." Despite the intense moments, parents couldn't ask for a better role model for their tween and teen daughters than strong, independent Enola, who models courage, intelligence, and integrity through her actions. She has been raised outside of social constraints and taught to think and live for herself. She helps Tewksbury even though it means putting herself in danger. The two teens seem to share an attraction and the desire for a future together; at one point, he kisses her hand.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byVictoria123456 September 25, 2020
Adult Written bymikaylalwrites September 25, 2020
I didn't care for the movie (didn't like Henry Cavill as Sherlock, didn't care for the looking into the camera moments, other things).

However,... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byheather_chandler September 23, 2020

Interesting

I loved this movie. I really did. I don't get the criticism. It was honestly good. I think it had great acting and the chemistry between Enola and the Visc... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bymanjas777 September 22, 2020

great!

so cute and a really enjoyable watch! definitely recommend:)

What's the story?

ENOLA HOLMES (Millie Bobby Brown) has been raised by her mother alone in their vast country estate to be a strong, independent free thinker. The two are exceptionally close until Mrs. Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter) suddenly disappears on Enola's 16th birthday. Enola's brothers -- renowned detective Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and uptight politician Mycroft (Sam Claflin) -- are called in to care for her and help find their mother. The men are taken aback to find Enola, whom they haven't seen in years, grown up and, according to the straight-laced standards of Victorian England, wildly unrestrained. Mycroft plans to send her to finishing school while Sherlock searches for their mother, who appears to be caught up in a potentially violent women's suffrage movement. But Enola has other plans and escapes them both. Through a series of gender-bending disguises and adventures, she sets herself up in London to find her mother on her own. Complicating matters is her entanglement in the misadventures of the young marquess Lord Tewksbury (Louis Partridge), who's on the run from both his family and a murderous mystery man.

Is it any good?

Fast-paced, clever, and hugely entertaining, this film will delight fans of Brown and surely bring her more followers thanks to this outstanding role. Brown has become a cultural icon of girl power: Girls everywhere wanted to be her Stranger Things character Eleven, and now they'll crave to be the fiercely independent, confident, wily Enola, too. Brown (who's also a producer on Enola Holmes) pairs off against a cast of established actors, including Bonham Carter and Cavill, and she fills nearly every scene with energy and intelligence in a role that's as physical as it is emotional. The technique of having her character conspiratorially break the fourth wall to talk directly to the camera (like a teen-friendly Fleabag) creates complicity with the viewer. Interestingly, that playful dialogue seems to come and go with her character's own confidence and fortune.

Sherlock fans may be reluctant to accept a younger and more forward-thinking sister who outsmarts the great detective. And history buffs may bristle at the imposition of some contemporary values on late 1800s-era London. But smashing historical constructions and patriarchal obstacles seems to be exactly the point. And, anyway, doesn't the magic of many movies lie precisely in the suspension of disbelief? Yes, Enola's regular combat conquests and speedy deductions are suspect. But really, who cares when a film is so well put together and just plain fun to watch? Considering that there are several books in the source series, here's hoping that Enola Holmes marks the start of an exciting new franchise.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the characters in Enola Holmes compare to what you already knew of Sherlock Holmes and his world.

  • What did you think of Enola's upbringing? Would you like to have been raised like her? Why or why not? Do you consider her a role model? How does she demonstrate courage and integrity?

  • Enola often talks to the camera in a technique known as "breaking the fourth wall." What's your reaction to this technique? Where else have you seen it?

  • What's your opinion of the choices Mrs. Holmes makes? How about Sherlock and Mycroft?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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