Get to know the Netflix original movie inspiring young girls everywhere
Milly Bobby Brown took to the screens as the lead role in the new Netflix original movie, “Enola Holmes.” The film observes Enola, the witty and intelligent younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, as she fights her way through 1884 England while navigating oppressive circumstances.
The mystery-thriller is an on-screen adaptation of the Nancy Springer book series, “The Enola Holmes Mysteries.” The story follows a young girl on a quest to solve the case of her missing mother (played by Helena Bonham Carter), who vanished on Enola’s 16th birthday. Enola out-sleuths her famous older brothers, Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin), numerous times as she defies oppression and saves the course of history while proving to be the extraordinary young woman she always was.
According to Rotten Tomatoes, critics gave “Enola Holmes” a notably positive response, most likely due to the highly inspirational plot along with Brown’s portrayal of a strong Enola Holmes. Brown directly expresses Enola’s perspective by narrating straight to the camera and breaking through the film’s fourth-wall throughout the movie, enabling watchers to better understand Enola’s thought process.
Heartfelt storytelling aside, the film itself is a testament to the oppression enforced upon women in that era and echoes the continued persistence for women’s rights. Raised and destined to be a jiu-jitsu-practicing detective, Enola embodies her mother — strong, young and charmingly intelligent. But after living a carefree life, she is ultimately confronted by the societal expectations for womanhood.
After years without interaction, Mycroft treats Enola with contempt for the way she carries herself as the young woman their mother raised her to be. In spite of the societal disgust she is often confronted by, Enola refuses to be anything other than herself. Distasteful toward settling down as a glassy-eyed housewife, she chooses not to dress as women are expected to and rejects practicing lady-like mannerisms which define womanly maturity.
As her own individual, Enola lives as she pleases and does not care to abide by societal expectations. Enola carries her character as she deems justified and demonstrates her inspirational defiance of these standards throughout the film.
To evade her brothers while she solves cases in England, Enola changes her wardrobe frequently throughout her adventure. She often crossdresses and bribes others to swap clothing with her as a part of her strategy to adapt to the situations she finds herself within.
Additionally, she recognizes she must become something “unexpected,” resulting in the purchase of a corset-involving dress. By wearing typical women’s clothing, spectators watch Enola weaponize the very set of expectations for women that she despises. Brilliantly, she deceives conformity while utilizing the opinions of her antagonists against themselves.
These iconic transformations demonstrate how Enola involves her liberated outlook in her super-sleuthing and inspires viewers to adopt a similar perspective.
Mycroft tracks down Enola and forces her to attend Miss Harrison’s finishing school for young ladies — a boarding school that pushes young girls to succumb to the standards of society. Sherlock calls her “extraordinary” while visiting her at the school, and Enola understands that she is not made for the outdated beliefs of the school. Detesting the rules, Enola escapes with the help of a young Viscount who is also on the run from a life he despises.
After involving herself with the case of the runaway Viscount, Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge), Enola deconstructs the conspiracy to control his vote for reformation in England. She saves his life, and Lord Tewkesbury casts the deciding vote for reform. By helping him, Enola ultimately answers the same call for reform that her mother and the women of England had been fighting for all along.
A common theme throughout this film is change. The underlying story of the woman’s resistance and the call for reform highlights the recurring idea of fighting for a future in a changing world.
In a conversation between Sherlock and one of the members of his mother’s resistance, Edith, Sherlock is called out for his privilege as a well-respected man.
“You don’t know what it is to be without power… Politics don’t interest you because you have no interest in changing a world that suits you so well.”
She then exposes his ironic yet unintentional ignorance of the changes to come in telling him, “You see the world so closely, but do you see how it’s changing?”
This narrative from Enola’s story brings light to the differences in privilege experienced by women and men — both back then and in society today. It also develops Sherlock’s character, as he learns to recognize the impending changes to come.
“Perhaps she wants to change the world,” Sherlock said to Enola when discussing their mother, to which she replied, “Perhaps it’s a world that needs changing.”
Although her assistance may seem indirect, seeing as she was involved with the Tewkesbury case by chance, Enola partook in the ultimate fight for rights that consequently changed the world. By her understanding of the world’s need for change, Enola was able to actively do her part in the process.
A similar sentiment echoes throughout our modern-day society. The fight against oppression depicted in the film can be observed in reality today, as calls for reformation and feminist movements occur around the globe in an everchanging world.
The film “Enola Holmes” inspires young girls to seek independence from societal expectations and teaches them a message to be strong for themselves in a way that is empowering and unselfish. In her departing words, which conclude the film, Enola encourages this attitude of positive individuality — departing watchers with an inspirational resolution.
“My life is my own, and the future is up to us.”