Hello, my beloved readers!
Enola Holmes was arguable one of Netflix’s biggest releases of 2020. However, before Millie Bobby Brown swooped into my life to take me on a Victorian journey I had never heard of Sherlock’s little sister. What better occasion to check out the novels?
The Plot (according to Goodreads):
When Enola Holmes, the much younger sister of detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared—on her 14th birthday nonetheless—she knows she alone can find her. Disguising herself as a grieving widow, Enola sets out to the heart of London to uncover her mother’s whereabouts—but not even the last name Holmes can prepare her for what awaits. Suddenly involved in the kidnapping of the young Marquess of Basilwether, Enola must escape murderous villains, free the spoiled Marquess, and perhaps hardest of all, elude her shrewd older brother—all while collecting clues to her mother’s disappearance!
Book vs. Movie:
So, I watched the film immediately when it came out. Then I picked up the novel. Upon finishing that I went to watch the movie a second time just to have some better ground for comparison. So, I’ll start with some thoughts on the film!
When I saw Mills in the trailer I knew this was going to be glorious. Also, Helena Bonham Carter is in this movie, so by rule, this can’t be bad.
Millie Bobby Brown has so much charisma, she’s definitely carrying this entire thing on her shoulders. I loved the dynamic between her and Helena Bonham Carter. Their relationship in the film was amazing!
In general, I appreciate how all of the relationships were portrayed in the film. I feel like you can tell how involved Millie Bobby Brown was in the overall production. If you pay attention you’ll immediately notice small differences in how young women are usually shown and how they interact with people. I don’t want to go off on a tangent here, but I appreciate how she’s not always looking perfect (unruly hair!) or super pretty (real crying face!). Also, a teenager is played by an actual teenager which is a rather rare thing.
Enola is such a fun, smart, and badass character. It was a genuine pleasure to follow her through this film.
So, I picked up the novel with very high expectations. Well, it didn’t quite live up to them. First of all, I found the mother/daughter a little disappointing. Honestly, I think it’s just because it was different from the movie and I wasn’t expecting it. It’s not bad but I just liked the film version better.
It soon turned out that the story diverges a little more than just that. Generally speaking, the plot is far less intricate. You can definitely feel that this book is targeted towards kids.
The movie isn’t the most complicated thing ever either, but they added some more layers and it was really enjoyable for an adult as well. Actually, I found the Viscount part of the story made more sense in the film with how things played out and developed between Enola and him.
I love that they added a subplot about women’s rights. While in the novel those nuances were more subtle and focussed on clothing, the line from the movie “Politics doesn’t interest you because you have no interest in changing a world that suits you so well.” is everything. I want that on a T-shirt.
I also want to quickly address Sherlock. Many people complained that he was way too different from the Sherlock we all know. Interestingly, there is a lawsuit brought on by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle estate. Apparently, in the final novels, Sherlock also had caught feelings, so they feel copyright is infringed here. It’s so weird to me that they only brought this up now after the Enola Holmes books have been out for years.
This Sherlock definitely had a different vibe but I’m not mad about it. I’m always happy to see Henry Cavill and as he only had such a small role to play here, I didn’t care too much about the changes. Honestly, I only had eyes for Enola. Millie Bobby Brown is so talented it’s amazing.
Also, can we just talk about the insane transformation of Sam Claflin? I can’t get over how different he looks in the film in comparison with his normal look. Even though they didn’t do that much to him!
All that aside, I found the movie adaptatition to be a lot of fun. Granted it wasn’t the best movie out there or the most intricate one, but for me it was simply a good time and I’d love to see more Enola Holmes films.
A little side-note as many people mentioned disliking this: Enola often breaks the fourth wall and directly looks into/talks to the camera. I found it charming and think it gave the film a nice touch. However, I know some people can’t stant that at all, so consider yourself warned. 😉
Sure, the Enola Holmes movie isn’t flawless. However, I did enjoy it much more than the book. While there was nothing wrong with the novel per se, you can really tell that it’s targeting a much younger demographic than I am. The story was a bit simpler in the book (maybe to cater to that audience better), so I appreciated that they stepped up the game for the adaptation. I’d love to see more movies but I don’t think I’ll read more of the novels.
Did you prefer the book or the movie? Let me know in the comments!