The game’s afoot, as they say. Enola Holmes arrives based on the series of mystery novels by Nancy Springer, which explores the Sherlock Holmes family tree from a very female perspective. Alongside the world’s greatest detective Sherlock and his brother Mycroft, Springer posits the idea that these two legends of Victorian literature had a much younger sister, Enola – though her youth and innocence of the world has clearly not prevented her from inheriting the family genius gene.
Played here by Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown, Enola has largely been raised by her mother (Helena Bonham Carter). But as she wakes up on the morning of her 16th birthday, she discovers that her kindly mum has disappeared. Where to and why are, obviously, part of the mysteries young Enola must solve; and fortunately, her mater has left her some well-hidden clues. But then along comes Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin), threatening to send her to finishing school.
The very idea appals Enola, and before you can say ‘elementary’, she hot-foots it to London on the train – though not before she and her new travelling companion, a runaway young Lord (Louis Partridge), narrowly avoid a sticky encounter. And plenty more of those await in Enola Holmes, which is directed with energy and vigour by Harry Bradbeer (whose TV credits include Fleabag, Killing Eve and Ramy) from a script by Jack Thorne, who recently adapted His Dark Materials for the BBC and HBO.
Arriving in London, Enola continues her quest to find her mother, while needing to outwit Sherlock and Mycroft – no mean feat considering their collective brain power – and outrun the shadowy villain played by Burn Gorman. Considering Brown is the size of a pepper pot, she manages to make her fight sequences seem authentic and exciting, as she scraps for her life on the streets of Victorian London, beautifully recreated by production designer Michael Carlin.
With a well-appointed supporting cast (Fiona Shaw, Frances de la Tour and Adeel Akhtar feature), Enola Holmes definitely falls into the ‘something for everyone’ category. Teens will warm to Brown and Partridge, and their cute relationship, while Holmes fans should get a kick out of Cavill and Claflin as the two latest actors to put their stamp on Arthur Conan Doyle’s creations. With plenty of conspiracies and clue-solving in a brisk and engaging story, all cut to Daniel Pemberton’s rousing score, it’s a hugely entertaining romp that will bring out the sleuth in you.
Enola Holmes reaches Netflix on September 23. In the meantime, check out the best Netflix movies available now.