Enola Holmes is a delightful adventure that premiered last month on Netflix. Millie Bobby Brown stars as the titular character, along with Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham Carter. The film is clever, engaging, and takes a familiar story in a whole new direction. Okay, it’s technically PG-13, but here is why your kids should be watching this movie, even if it is a little grown-up.
Fun for The Whole Family
Enola Holmes is one of those movies that kids will love. Even better, the adults won’t want to reach for the wine to get through it. Movies you can watch with the kids can be truly insufferable sometimes. This one, however, will keep both the kids and grownups happy and entertained. My boyfriend and I stumbled across this movie a few days ago. As soon as the movie finished, I texted my 11-year-old sister and told her to add this to her list ASAP. There’s a mystery, there’s laughter, and there are all sorts of fantastic characters and fun period elements. I feel confident that telling my sister to watch this movie will result in the whole family having a fantastic movie night sometime soon.
Strong Female Characters
Enola is the exact kind of tough, slightly eccentric, and incredibly clever female character that I would have idolized as a child. She knows jiu-jitsu, she can shoot an arrow and hit the target every time, and has no qualms about keeping her clothes tidy. Enola grew up with a single mother, Eudoria Holmes, played by Bonham Carter, who is equally non-traditional and unapologetically feminist.
The two Holmes women do not allow anyone or anything to get in their way. These kinds of female characters are a wonderful influence, not just on young women, but on young men as well. They’re also kind of hard to find in children’s movies. The Holmes women teach young girls that you can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do. They teach young men that women, even those who do not conform to traditional ideas of femininity, deserve respect.
The Boys Aren’t Saving The Day
The male characters in this film range from downright evil to undeniably loveable, but one thing unites them all. Enola is consistently several steps ahead of all of the men in her life. That includes her brother, the famous detective Sherlock Holmes. She does not allow her straightlaced legal guardian, her eldest brother Mycroft, to hold her back or force her to conform to his ideals. Enola consistently outsmarts him to escape from his high and mighty clutches. When she meets a boy on her journey to find her mother, she rescues him (more than once) from his own treacherous circumstances. Ultimately, the 16-year-old heroine of Enola Holmes does not need to rely on any man. She stands firmly on her own two feet.
Questions Social Norms
Throughout the film, nonsensical societal norms are consistently under fire, from finishing schools to corsets to the very idea of governmental reform. While these ideas may sound antiquated, they’re not as far past as you may think. We still struggle with ideas about how women’s bodies are supposed to look and how women are supposed to behave. Society is locked in a constant battle on whether or not the government needs to move forward or stay the same and whether it properly serves all of the people equally. These weighty questions, presented with the fun energy of a children’s movie, are of the upmost importance. This is an excellent and downright easy way to start to introduce these ideas of what society shouldn’t be able to tell you, and what society should do for you to your little ones.
The Holmes family is a little dysfunctional and more than a little different. Despite all that, by the end of the film, it is clear that some of them share a truly touching bond. The mother-daughter relationship that Enola and Eudoria share is unique but also wonderful and loving. At its core, it’s an excellent blueprint for a loving relationship built on mutual trust, respect, and unconditional love.
At the beginning of the movie, Enola barely knows her brother Sherlock. By the end of the movie, she has proved herself to him completely. There is an obvious affection between the two, and the stoic older man obviously cares deeply for his little sister. They have a certain bond, the kind of bond that only siblings can have.
While the Holmes are not exactly a normal family, they send an important message to kids everywhere. Even if your family doesn’t look or act exactly like everyone else’s, that doesn’t mean there isn’t something very special between you. The Holmes’ are excellent role models in that they are very different people who share a lot of love and the tight bonds of family.