Saturday, 3 October 2020

Sherlock, Mycroft, And Now ... Enola

The latest 'Holmes-inspired' film cam eout last weekend - Enola Holmes. I'm not sure I've ever seen a film on the day it was released before, but this one went straight to Netflix, so Bob suggested we watched it. It was fun, if a little contrived. This review contains NO spoilers!

The plot is [loosely] based on the Enola Holmes mysteries by American author Nancy Springer. I confess I had not come across them before. Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock, and Mycroft [his brother, 7 years older] and the only other family details ACD gives us are that his ancestors were "country squires" and his grandmother was French, sister of the artist Vernet [but there were at least three Vernets, so who knows which...] Ms Springer has introduced the younger sister Enola - brought up and home-educated by her widowed mother, Eudoria. But on Enola's 16th birthday, Eudoria goes missing, and Enola sets out to find her.

The film is based on Springer's first Enola story "The Case of the Missing Marquess" - which is very confusing, because that is not Eudoria. Marquess is the anglicized version of Marquis  - the rank of the peerage above an earl and below a duke. And that is a masculine term- the feminine version is Marchioness. In the film, the missing peer, who rejoices in the name Tewkesbury Basilwether, is reduced to a Viscount [that's below an earl and above a baron] .

In the book, Enola is 14 [I think it was good that they made her 16 in the film ]- she meets Tewkesbury as they are both on a train to London. The film documents her exploits as she searches for her Mum [Helena Bonham Carter] while Sherlock tries to find Enola - and asTewkesbury tries to evade his equally bizarre family. Great location filming - Hatfield House [I visited that as a child] the Ashridge Estate [Bob and I picnicked there "when we were courting" - oh, we are so old!] and the Greenwich Naval College [another favourite family destination]  

Its a bit steampunk in places, and I do feel they try a bit too hard to make Enola a 21st Century feminist, and totally 'woke' [no, I'm not 100% sure what that means either] I enjoyed all the random wordplay and anagram clues  - you can tell the original novel was written for geeky young teens. Wonderful casting. - Millie Bobby Brown plays the eponymous heroine. MBB is herself 16 [and went to Primary School up the road in Bournemouth, before the family relocated to the USA]

My favourite actor has to be Frances De La Tour, who plays Tewkesbury's Grandmother - the Dowager [the wealthy widow of a peer] FDLT is not given the recognition she deserves imho.

The French may have Le Tour De France, but the Brits have Frances De La Tour!

An amusing divertissement - but I am not sure this falls into the same category as other more carefully crafted Holmes spinoffs such as the contemporary Sherlock or Elementary. Enola is too busy proving she can fight her corner even though she is a mere woman, and it does get a bit silly in places. Apparently the administrators of the Conan Doyle Estate aren't altogether happy with it and have filed a lawsuit!

I'll give it ***


  1. Much of our courting was done at Ashridge too, it’s a wonder we didn’t bump into each other! Did you ever climb the monument?

    1. When were you there? If it was summer of 1978 then we may have been there too...

  2. Do you remember Frances De La Tour in that sitcom with the chap who played Reggie Perrin - his name escapes me but I can see his face! I think he was her landlord?I remember the film 'Enola Gay' about the American warplane and have always loved that name. Will give the new film a try-out since it's such a wet and miserable day her today. Have a good weekend. x

    1. Rising Damp, he was Riggsby. The other tenants were played by the late Richard Beckinsale, and Don Warrington (now Chief of Police in "Death in Paradise") Enola Gay was the name of the pilot's mother. Wet and windy here too. Planning to watch Kenneth Branagh in "Murder on The Orient Express tomorrow"

  3. It was already on my list to watch this weekend so good to know it will be worth my time!

  4. We really enjoyed it, and hope it becomes a series, which is what I had expected, not a film? I liked the way she talked to the audience, it reminded me of Miranda.


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