Tatler Review: Why The Whole Family Needs To Watch Enola Holmes (2020)
The game is afoot. But instead of the Holmes family's famous detective taking on a case, we follow Sherlock's younger sister Enola Holmes, a character based on Nancy Springer's Young Adult series, The Enola Holmes Mysteries. Borrowing from the world of Sherlock written originally by Arthur Conan Doyle, Nancy introduces Enola, the smart and intrepid young sister of the Holmes brothers.
Enola is on a quest to find their mother Eudoria. Although, clearly, Enola does not find the mystery exciting as she woefully interjects in the first part of the movie, "I don't want a mystery, Sherlock. I want my mother back here and my life as it was."
Her determination to find her mother is further fuelled by knowing that she would remain as her brother Mycroft's ward during Eudoria's absence. Mycroft had left Enola under their mother's care for years, only to return and strictly impose rules to conform to society's standards at the time. And worse — he sent Enola to Miss Harisson's finishing school.
Refusing to obey her brothers and unable to forget about her mother, Enola ventures off to find Eudoria and meets a young Lord along the way, whom she ends up helping. The boy's reason for running away seems to be as mysterious as Eudoria's disappearance. Inevitably, this meeting distracts Enola from her primary reason for leaving home. But she does not back down from a challenge, even in the face of danger.
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Although her leaving was prompted by Eudoria's disappearance and two brothers who do not seem to understand her, Enola is also determined to take on the challenge to help a young boy who aims to never return home. Now, Enola is left with two mysteries to solve.
Sure, we're left asking more questions about her mother as she decides to shift her plans from finding Eudoria to helping Viscount Tewksbury. The story does get muddled, but that's the beauty of a mystery. Regardless, there are a few salient points to take from the film.
Enola Holmes was taught by her mother certain skills that were mostly not taught to ordinary girls at that time, one of which was the Japanese martial arts jiu-jitsu. She also enjoyed learning chemistry at such a young age.
She bore the burden of a stranger and naturally had a tendency to help. Veering away from the "damsel-in-distress" stereotype, Enola instead tries to save a new friend she met on the train — who seems to be running away from his responsibilities — Lord Tewksbury.
She fought for what she thought was right. Enola was outspoken. Stomping her way to the living room where her two brothers sat waiting while Miss Harisson had begun preparing her for finishing school in the other room, Enola tried to fight her fate — she did not want to go to school and conform with the norms that were associated with girls her age such as being tasked to cook and clean, walking and talking with poise, and even laughing politely. These norms, at the time, were incredibly and strictly enforced on young women.
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But the best part of it all? Enola had the opportunity to utilise everything her mother taught her of the world as she ventured off to find Eudoria. Everything she had been taught prepared her for the outside world.
But Enola is not the only character that challenges the norms. Viscount Tewksbury, a young boy born from a wealthy family and an heir to the Marquess of Basilwether who recently passed, has decided to run away from his responsibilities. The young Viscount instead interests himself in plants and flowers. In his treehouse, Enola finds his sketches of them.
Aside from the film's implications on young adult's intrepidness and curiosity that urges them to break free — it stands as a film that defines a new generation that is fearless and unbound to the norms that society ties them to.
These are only some of the significant points in Enola Holmes. Revisit the movie to find more and bask in the presence of your new favourite Holmes character.
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