Enola Holmes addresses independence and women’s suffrage


Enola Holmes, Netflix, fair use

Netflix’s Enola Holmes is fast-paced, interesting, captivating, and a perfect family movie.

Grace Eigner, Staff Writer

Enola Holmes, based on Nancy Springer’s book series, made its debut on Netflix on September 23, 2020, and quickly rolled in as Netflix’s most-watched movie. The film was a breath of fresh air and handled a complicated plot while keeping it very interesting. Fans of Millie Bobby Brown (star of Stranger Things) were eager to see her staring in this clever film as Enola Holmes. 

Brown plays a free-spirited teenage girl, who is the sister of Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill), sharing many of his acclaimed intelligent traits and sleuthing skills. When Enola’s mother (Helena Bonham Carter), a fiery suffragette who Enola is very close to, goes missing and leaves behind an array of clues for Enola, she embarks on an adventure to find her mother. She does this all while attempting to avoid her other brother Mycroft (Sam Claflin) who intends on sending her to finishing school. Enola rejects the idea of becoming a modern lady. During her journey, she comes across a young Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge), who is on the run from his fate as a Lord. As their relationship develops, so does the theory that Tewkesbury has a mystery of his own to solve. It’s a mystery inside a mystery while continuing to demonstrate the changing times of 1884 and the recurring themes of independence and the women’s suffrage movement. 

I approached the movie with no preconceptions, and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of mystery and the well thought out plot, which remained uplifting and enjoyable. Throughout the film, Enola acts as a narrator and interacts with the audience as if we are her friends along on the journey, which allows for a more positive and comedic tone, despite the intense action and mature plot.

Every aspect of the film from the setting to plot is creative and intricate. The setting, colors, costumes, characters, and plot allow watchers to be delightfully transported to the time period and keep the film engaging. For example, the attire that Enola is forced to dress in if she is to attend boarding school includes corsets, bloomers, and petticoats. This Victorian attire represents the style of women in 1884.

I approached the movie with no preconceptions, and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of mystery and the well thought out plot, which remained uplifting and enjoyable.”

— Grace Eigner

There were various action scenes that paired perfectly with the mystery of it all. Brown had to train in her gown in corset in order to perfect these martial arts scenes and make them as authentic as possible. This is shown in various combat scenes, many of which included weapons. When Enola fended off those who aimed to attack her with weapons while she was unarmed, it kept the audience on edge and hopeful for Enola, despite the unfavoring odds against her. 

Along with the film’s action and mystery, it holds interesting interactions and complex themes. This includes the interactions between Enola and her mother, which emphasizes the unusual activities Enola participated in with her mother, including scientific experiments, reading, word games, martial arts, sports, and many other activities that were uncommon for women to engage in during the time period. These are shown through a series of flashbacks throughout the movie. Because Enola’s mother taught her to engage in these many activities rather than focusing on becoming a traditional lady, it shows the underlying themes of independence and the women’s suffrage movement, for Enola’s mother taught her to be independent and intelligent. These themes are shown in other aspects of the film as well.

Overall, the film was extremely entertaining and packed with substance and action, but sometimes seemed a bit vague causing it to be a little confusing. It would be more difficult to understand for younger audiences without prior knowledge of the women’s suffrage movement. 

However, this was only a small portion of the film. This minor inconvenience was outshined by the acting, especially by Brown. The role allowed her to shine and most likely increased her fanbase. Overall the film was fast-paced, clever, interesting, captivating, and a perfect family movie.