Millie Bobby Brown reprises her role in new Victorian Era mystery romp
Enola Holmes 2
Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Lewis Partridge & David Thewlis
Directed by Harry Bradbeer
See it: Nov. 4, 2022, only on Netflix
“Some of what follows is true,” reads the placard at the opening of this sassy sequel about Sherlock Holmes’ little sister. “The important parts, anyway.”
The true, important parts are something that took place in England at the close of the 19th century…but more about that later.
Millie Bobby Brown continues to move beyond Stranger Things to reprise her role as the younger sibling of the iconic fictional British sleuth. After the events of the first Enola Holmes flick (2020), the young-adult clue-sniffer has now branched out to open her own detective agency.
But she’s detecting that it’s not easy being a PI when your big brother is the world’s most famous gumshoe. Enola gets her big break, however, when she’s asked to investigate a missing-person case, which turns into a wild, puzzle-solving romp throughout the social strata of 1880s Victorian England.
And it turns Enola into a murder suspect on the lam from the law.
Director Harry Bradbeer also returns behind the camera from the first Enola Holmes, picking things up where they left off. He’s a native Brit himself, with a witty, gritty style that suits this lively, frisky, fem-centric frolic. (He’s also directed episodes of TV’s Fleabag and Killing Eve).
On the surface, the movie is about Enola’s hunt to find out what happened to a young factory worker who has seemingly vanished. But it’s also got some serious stuff on its mind—women’s rights, the unity of sisterhood, really toxic workplaces, progressive politics and setting young Enola up as a proto-feminist firebrand. Gender fluidity even gets a nod.
Bucking the trends of her times, Enola has brains as well as some impressive bust-a-move ju-jitsu…much of which she learned from her mother (Helena Bonham Carter), a scrappy activist-crusader.
Henry Cavill (who’s played Superman as well as starring in The Tudors, The Witcher and Midsomer Murders) returns to the role of Sherlock, who ultimately joins Enola as the unraveling thread she’s following leads her into a web of business corruption, conspiracy and even homicide.
There’ve been dozens of actors who’ve played Sherlock, a diverse group of nearly 60 that includes Christopher Lee, Will Ferrell, Michael Caine and Benedict Cumberbatch. Take Robert Downey Jr. out of the running, maybe, and none of them comes close to looking as hunky in a cloak and hat as Cavill. His dapper, brooding, brainiac detective would be the perennial winner of Old London’s Sexiest Bachelor award.
But this movie, after all, is about Enola, and girls will love the way she rocks, rolls, connects the clues and crushes the case about something causing young British women to die. (And that’s the “important” part of the movie, the thing that really matters…even if it’s just an historical footnote.)
And along the way, she crashes a high-falootin’, high-society costume ball, scampers across rooftops, recouples with her crush, the dashing young viscount Tewkesbury (Lewis Partridge), and outwits the conniving London constable (David Thewlis) trying to reign her in. She also runs circles around Scotland Yard’s inspector Lestrade (Adeel Akhtar, also reprising his role), who’s always one hapless step behind Enola and Sherlock.
Lestrade was a recurring character in the Holmes stories of creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 1800s. At the end of this spry Sherlock spinoff, you’ll be introduced to yet another character that’s become a nameworthy part of Holmes lore.
As for Enola, her character was created by New Jersey author Nancy Springer, who launched a series of novels about the teenage detective in 2006. Enola may not be as old, figuratively and literally, as her more famous brother, but she has certainly made her mark.
Will we see her again? Likely, and hopefully. The world needs more Enolas, smart young female crusaders everywhere who can also snap open some cans of serious wrong-righting whoop-ass.