Netflix’s Enola Holmes brings a new, feel-good twist to the Sherlock universe


Image by Kyla Jones

Kyla Jones, Centerspread Editor

Over quarantine, I was introduced to the world of Sherlock for the first time via BBC’s Sherlock; I grew to love Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock and his faithful companion John Watson. Thus, when I heard about Enola Holmes, I was hesitant to watch it. What kind of a Sherlock adaptation doesn’t even have Watson? As I watched, however, I discovered its differences from the source material to be a strength.

The Sherlock character has been in too many adaptations over the years. By focusing on Enola and placing emphasis elsewhere, the movie created a niche for itself in the Sherlock pantheon. Its difference from the source material allowed me as a viewer to separate it from BBC’s Sherlock. In my opinion, the movie benefitted from its lack of emphasis on Sherlock. I was delighted by Henry Cavill’s Sherlock, but featuring him more often would have taken away from Enola.

That all being said, Enola Holmes was an adorable movie that left me smiling by its conclusion. Not having read the books, I can’t speak to whether or not the movie accurately captured the book’s best qualities. I can, however, talk about the movie from the standpoint of a viewer.

The writing of the movie was shaky, but it more than made up for it with charm. The plot was fairly predictable, though it did drop the ball on a few plot points, but that’s neither here nor there. The most notable element of the writing was its fourth wall breaks. Enola frequently speaks directly to the audience. Often, critics view fourth wall breaks as a sign of weak writing; they can be a crutch when a story has no other way to say a piece of exposition. In Enola Holmes, these fourth wall breaks sometimes detracted from the experience, but honestly, it’s a matter of personal opinion. I didn’t mind them. They added to the intimate vibe that the movie gave off—even though large events were occurring, the story always felt very personal. 

Overall, I loved this movie. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the Sherlock franchise. I rate it a 4/5.