It’s here! Enola Holmes has just been released, and hopefully everyone has been able to enjoy it. As we discussed in our advanced review, we loved it! It has it all: mystery, action, intrigue, a badass lead, complex characters, and life lessons that make you think. Our future is up to us.
Here we go!
At the beginning of the movie, Enola introduces us to her routine and we can see that she is a cheerful and happy girl, who grew up with her mother in the middle of the English countryside. Her mother doesn’t teach her what society says that a young lady should know, but rather she teaches her what she really must know in order to be an independent woman and not depend on anyone. She teaches her what she must know to go her own way. But she also has her own secrets … Among the lessons, are word games and anagrams that will be very important in this story, because they start it and lead it where it needs to go.
Enola wakes up on her birthday all alone. Her mother disappeared. She cannot find her anywhere. That makes Enola call her two brothers: Sherlock and Mycroft. Everyone knows the renowned investigator Sherlock Holmes (and the perfect Henry Cavill) but few know Mycroft. He’s the perfect stereotype of London society: snooty, uncompromising and a jerk.
Enola calls them because her mother is missing, they’re family and Sherlock can help find her. But calling them doesn’t end up looking like the best decision. As Sherlock takes an interest in the case and fixes on the details, he doesn’t seem to get the immediate results Enola wanted… and what he finds out… isn’t what she expects either. Sherlock discovers that their mother left of her own free will, and that she is not coming back. Her mother abandoned her. And that is a very hard blow for Enola. Her mother was her best friend, her teacher, her anchor… and she abandoned her.
The return of Enola’s siblings makes her life even more difficult, since her mother’s disappearance is compounded by the appearance of her two brothers who want to control her life and restrict her freedom. They’re two strangers to her. They both left when she was still a little girl and she never heard from them again. Sherlock devoted himself to his cases and his career, pretending that neither she nor her mother existed and Mycroft … well, he simply dedicated himself to becoming a snooty young man, a true reflection of English high society.
And now, those strangers control her life and clip her wings. Above all, Mycroft, who decides to send her to a boarding school for young ladies, Enola’s worst nightmare. As much as she fights, as much as she tries to make them both see that she is happy and that they do not have to make her try to fit in a role in which she doesn’t want, as much as she almost manages to run away… nothing works. Mycroft ends up dragging her to that boarding school and it’s heartbreaking to see how Enola cried inconsolably begging her brother to just let her be her, set her free, leave her alone… and not get even a shred of understanding on his part.
I think Mycroft really thought he was doing what’s best for Enola. To him, she’s a nuisance, a savage who has not been educated well or taught her place. And he really believes that all that shit has some value and is important. The problem here is that Mycroft is concentrating on who he wants Enola to be and not who she really is, simply because he considers that since she doesn’t follow the rules of his highly prized society, she is wrong and simply has to learn to fit in. Mycroft never sees Enola as the person she is: someone with unique and pure worth, with extraordinary value. He just sees her as something to be shaped and fixed. And I consider him despicable for it.
And, in all this mess, where is Sherlock? Well, focused on the case of the disappearance of Enola’s mother. Sherlock AKA Henry Cavill deals with this case like any other, ignoring any emotional ties to it and, of course, to his family. He sees Enola fight and plead, he sees her cry, she even goes to him for help… she thought he understood, he’s a detective, he likes mysteries, puzzles, the pieces that need to be put together… like her. Sherlock watches her wither and does absolutely nothing. Just lets Mycroft try to snatch her essence without moving a muscle to prevent it. And I hated him quite a bit for it (yes, even though it seems impossible to hate Henry Cavill), because he just leaves her to her own devices. His stone heart doesn’t even seem to be affected.
How can he see his own sister wither away before his eyes, and remain as if nothing? His callousness has made me want to step onto the screen and kick his perfect ass, him and Mycroft.
But Enola’s mother taught her well, so she goes her own way. She chooses not to wait for others to manage her life and begins to manage it herself. She doesn’t need anyone, her mother taught her to fend for herself and to be able to follow a path alone, without help. So she runs away and goes on a journey to find out what happened to her mother. What Enola doesn’t know is that on that journey she will discover herself.
On the train that will take her to splendid and decadent London, she meets a boy, a marquis who, for different reasons, has ended up in the same place as her: running away from his family. Enola, despite the advice her mother has given her, sees him in danger and helps him. We see here the first manifestation of Enola’s character. Until this moment, she had thought and acted as her mother taught her, following her guidelines. But here, she does something for the first time that her mother would not have done, something that she told her not to do. At that moment, Enola follows her heart and her true personality rebels: if someone is in danger and can help, she will do it, even if that may harm or endanger her.
This fact about Enola’s character and heart will be the background plot of the movie as all the action unfolds because of this.
The marquis and Enola, with some difficulties (including a hitman hired to kill him), make it to London and, although neither of them really wants to do it, they end up choosing separate paths. Enola becomes involved in the search for her mother while London is flooded with posters and newspapers that spread the news about a missing marquis and his mysterious escape from a train with another young man.
On the outskirts of London, at Holmes house, Mycroft doesn’t believe Enola’s disappearance while Sherlock remains calm, much more after seeing the news in the newspaper about the marquis. He knows that Enola was the one who helped him escape, so he knows where she is and what she’s doing. Sherlock can’t stop a proud smile from appearing on his face. That woman, her sister, is not what he expected. She knows what she wants and doesn’t allow anyone to control her. Plus, she’s smart and cunning. Yes, he’s proud of her and doesn’t want to stop her, though he wants to follow in her footsteps to make sure she doesn’t get into too much trouble.
This is when I start to forgive Sherlock a bit. But just a little. Mycroft is a very different story. He revolutionizes the police all over London to find Enola.
She hides in a pension for which she is charged much more than she should be. At least for a time. During that time, she manages to discover why her mother valued her privacy so much: she is involved in a feminist group that fights for women’s suffrage. I have my issues with this character, Eudoria, but I’m super proud of her right now. That’s my girl! The fact is that the changes in the British Parliament are coming and the first step is to accept that people who are not aristocrats have the right to vote. Next up would be women’s suffrage and Eudoria, along with a group of women Enola ends up meeting, is fighting for that to happen and they plan to do something that will get the world’s attention.
It’s at this time that I have to pause and say my feelings about Eudoria. I’m tremendously proud of their fight. If something is worthwhile, it’s that cause. A world of equality where women are not mere merchandise for men. However, why does she abandon her daughter? I understand that the cause for which she fights is dangerous but Enola is her daughter, she taught her to fight for her ideas, why didn’t she explain what she was involved in?
She was the only person Enola had and her birthday present was for Eudoria to abandon her. It doesn’t seem fair, nor understandable. It’s true that, as a birthday present, Eudoria left her some clues that only Enola would understand to guide her when she went her own way, but was it necessary to abandon Enola to teach her the last lesson of how to care for herself? I think not.
In my opinion, Eudoria’s reasons for abandoning Enola are brave and honorable, but they do not justify her simply leaving her, without even an explanation. Enola had to go her own way, she had to discover herself but I don’t know if abandonment is the best starting point. In fact, Eudoria’s abandonment fuels Enola’s old fears and demons.
After all, her two brothers abandoned her when they were still very young and never visited her again. Her mother was everything for her … and she abandons her too. That hurts Enola, it destroys her and that is why she wants to cling to the idea that she will return, although deep down she knows that she is not. Looking at it from that point of view, maybe Eudoria left to stop being everything to Enola… but it doesn’t seem like the best way to learn that lesson.
In the midst of a desperate search for her mother, an unexpected visitor sneaks into Enola’s life again: the murderer who was looking for the marquis. He thinks she knows where he is and they both have a fight to the death in the London suburbs (where Enola proves she’s a badass queen and I couldn’t be more proud); this makes Enola reconsider her options because she realizes that the marquis, Tewksbury, is in mortal danger and, as we have discussed before, if someone is in danger, she helps, even if it puts her in danger.
In the end, after visiting Tewksbury’s house and chatting with his lovely grandmother, Enola finds him and the two manage to hide… but for a short time. The innkeeper notified Mycroft of Enola’s whereabouts and, before they are found, she saves Tewksbury, even if it means that she is going to wither the rest of her life in a boarding school that will take away even the smallest trace of her spirit.
By fortune, Tewksbury doesn’t leave her alone and helps her escape. Together, they embark on an adventure to find out why and who is trying to kill him, as Sherlock follows in their footsteps. At one point, the brothers end up confronting each other and Sherlock finally decides to let Enola be herself and, for once, steps away from a good mystery, letting her be the one to put the pieces together, letting her follow her own road.
Enola deviates from her initial intention to find her mother, but she is doing just what she must do: following her heart. She and Tewksbury find out that they want to kill him because of the vote that will take place in the British Parliament, he, being progressive, was going to vote in favor, and there are many people who do not want the world and the old, class and antiquated customs, to change.
It always hurts and disgusts that someone wants to cloister themselves in a dark past, but it terrifies us even more when whoever wants to do it turns out to be a woman. Because, when the mystery is solved, we discover that who commissioned the murder of Tewksbury and also that of his father, was his own grandmother. She doesn’t want things to change. She doesn’t want poor people, whom she considers to be not up to her standards, to have a voice and vote in the country’s decisions, and she doesn’t want women to be able to. It’s sad and I’m really grossed out right now. Enola Holmes really surprised us here. Tewksbury’s grandmother seemed the only one who really cared about him… and she turned out to be his executioner.
After keeping our hearts in our fists in some magnificent and surprising final scenes (I confess that tears escaped me), they show us how Enola rises as a hero in her own right and saves Tewksbury from certain death, even risking her own life.
At the end of the trip, Tewksbury returns with the rest of her family and votes in favor in the decisive vote of Parliament, all thanks to Enola. They both say goodbye leaving us wanting more and with a lot of unspoken promises in their eyes. We ship them to death and want to see so much more of them! I confess that after writing this, I will be attentive to any fanfic I see about them.
In the midst of all this adventure, Enola has grown up to be an independent woman, sure of herself and who she is. She’s a detective and doesn’t need anyone to guard her or try to shape her as they please. She can stand on her own. That is the reason why, when Sherlock seeks her out simply to speak to her, Enola decides to introduce herself, but not reveal herself. She has already experienced what it would be like to live under the supervision of her siblings and she will not go through that again.
Although, this time, Mycroft was willing to disengage and leave Enola as a lost cause while Sherlock wanted to mentor her and help her in her detective career, because he is tremendously proud of her. But there is the crux of the matter: Enola doesn’t want or need to be tutored by anyone, in fact, it was she who discovered the mystery that surrounded Tewksbury without help from Sherlock and before him.
And that is the reason why Enola decides not to reveal herself to Sherlock and why he, despite knowing that she is there, decides to let her go on her way. He fully accepts her decision, respects her, admires her and is proud of her, accepts her and loves her as she is. So Sherlock has earned my forgiveness, just like Enola’s.
Mycroft, as always, is another story. He decides to leave Enola as a lost case but doesn’t understand her and never will. And much less accept who she is or her essence. He has simply decided that she is not worth his time, because she will never give in to his wishes. We thank him for giving up and returning to his life as a snooty rich man.
That said, I would have liked Enola to show up to Sherlock just to have a heart-to-heart talk between siblings … but at the same time, I understand why they did it that way, and I love the symbolism of that decision.
Another person who reappears to close her story with Enola is her mother, Eudoria. In the end, Enola found her but she also found what her mother always wanted her to find: herself and her path. Eudoria prepares to let her fly and Enola prepares precisely for that, to fly alone, knowing that she can always count on her mother but beginning to write her own story. Because our future is up to us and Enola Holmes has just begun to weave hers. Despite my problems with the character, I must admit that this symbolism and this life lesson is precious. Eudoria is a good mother who fought for her daughter and taught her everything she really had to learn.
As for the story, Enola Holmes presents us with an entertaining, funny story that catches you from the first second, full of plot twists, action (stunts are so cool!) and with a really deep emotional background. We identify with each character and with the life lessons they learn because Enola Holmes, at the end of the day, is a story about a young person finding her place in the world, struggling to choose her own destiny without anyone imposing their own rules on her, and we can all relate to that. In addition, the feminist background and the fight against injustice that this story presents us is a true success (we need to fight for our rights, always) while it tells us the dark side of all that, reflected in the people who do not want anything to change.
It also seems to me a success that Enola addresses us, the spectators, making us part of the story. It’s a resource that you don’t expect but that fits perfectly. Acting-wise, they are all sublime in their role but I highlight three actors: Helena Bonham-Carter (Eudoria), Henry Cavill (Sherlock) and Millie Bobby Brown (Enola Holmes)
Helena and Henry work wonders with their characters, but Millie was born to play Enola Holmes. From here we thank her for having fought to give life to this heroine. We hope to see many more adventures about Enola Holmes in the near future. I think it is a saga that could give us very good moments.
Don’t forget: our future is up to us.