On her sixteenth birthday, Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) has her life upturned when her mother and mentor (Helena Bonham Carter) disappears, leaving her at the mercy of the misanthropic Mycroft (Sam Claflin, complete with massive Tory moustache). Through silly scrapbook aesthetics, doodled caricatures and fun fourth-wall breaks, her journey towards independence begins. 

For Conan Doyle fanatics, Henry Cavill isn’t the Most Accurate Sherlock, instead throwing his hat in the ring for Most Attractive. He is mostly relegated to being an empathetic spectator in Enola’s story, but fittingly for the famously tunnel-visioned character, Sherlock has the frustrating privilege of ignoring the political turmoil around him. 

Within this void, the film expands the horizons of historical context to observe the buzz surrounding the Reform Bill, which would allow men of all classes to vote. Here, a feminist mother forming a Suffragette secret society fits in wonderfully, opening the door for characters like Edith (Susan Wokoma), a winning combination of Jujutsu sensei and tea room proprietor. Should sequels be ordered, this is a London full of exciting avenues of possibility. 

Reliable British excellence is the foundation of the film: Fleabag director Bradbeer uses his comedy experience to bring out the best Waller-Bridge facial expressions in Bobby Brown, Daniel Pemberton produces a score full of personality and joy, Fiona Shaw and Burn Gorman are once again typecast as entertaining villains, and the train chase and bumbling Inspector Lestrade (Adeel Akhtar) are reminiscent of Paddington 2.

Enola Holmes embraces the youth of its earnest heroine, every scene like a melodramatic teen diary entry with a vibrant aesthetic akin to Iannucci’s Copperfield. A woman writing or directing could have been more daring and nuanced, but it is still smashing to watch Holmes fight for Louis Partridge’s male damsel in distress and create her own iconic persona. 



CAST: Millie Bobby Brown, Helena Bonham Carter, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Louis Partridge, Frances de la Tour, Burn Gorman, Adeel Akhtar, Susan Wokoma, Hattie Morahan

DIRECTOR: Harry Bradbeer

WRITER: Jack Thorne

SYNOPSIS: When her mother goes missing on her 16th birthday, bright but inexperienced Enola follows in the footsteps of her famous family to London. Her tenacity means she alone can solve the capital’s case of the hour.