Enola Holmes is the 2020 film adaptation of the first novel in Nancy Springer's book series of the same name, which focuses on the adventures of Sherlock Holmes' younger sister Enola. The film stars Millie Bobby Brown as the title character, Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes, Sam Claflin as Mycroft Holmes, and Helena Bonham Carter as their mother, Eudoria. It was released on Netflix on September 23, 2020.
The official press release describes the plot of the movie as follows:
When her mother mysteriously disappears on her 16th birthday, Enola Holmes seeks help from her older brothers, Mycroft and the famous super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes. But soon realising they’re less interested in solving the case than in packing her off to boarding school, Enola does the only thing a smart, resourceful, and fearless young 1880s woman can do…she runs away to London. There, she begins her own remarkable crime-solving career, always keeping one step ahead of Sherlock.
Young Enola is the daughter of Eudoria Holmes, who insisted on naming her Enola. Her mother was supportive, and they have a close relationship, as she barely knew her father or brothers. However, her mother had secrets she kept from Enola, mentioning privacy was the highest virtue.
On Enola's sixteenth birthday, she found her mother was missing, leaving Ferndell Hall at some point during the night, but did not return. Her mother left her small gifts which were to be given to her at tea time. Enola left her home to visit her brothers by train, named Mycroft and Sherlock. She was sure Sherlock would have all the answers to her mystery.
Upon arriving at the train station, she found her brothers, who had sent her a telegram did not recognise her. Mycroft was confused as to why Enola had not brought the carriage he had sent, only to find he had sent it to the wrong place. They went to Enola's home, where Sherlock concluded her mother had not left due to foul play, and with her full wits about her.
Mycroft stated they had two objectives: to find Enola a boarding school with the help of his friend Miss Harrison and to find their mother. He considered his goal to be the former while assigning the latter to Sherlock. Mycroft believed his mother, wild and dangerous, had raised a wild child. Sherlock, however, found her to be intelligent.
While Enola was measured and dressed, Miss Harrison commented she had too much to say about the situation, and that the new clothes would allow her to fit into society. Miss Harrison said Enola would be making many friends, but Enola found them unnecessary, naming her school ridiculous, which won her a slap across the face from the older woman. Enola begged her brothers not to send her to the school, but Mycroft found it was necessary, as she would never find a husband in her current state, which Enola mentioned she did not want. Sherlock stated it was not his responsibility to educate her, but was left astonished when Enola said he had allowed Mycroft to be cruel to their mother.
As Enola sketched in a field, Sherlock joined her, remembering she used to be shy, bringing a small pinecone wherever she went, which she called Dash. He also remembered she never wore any trousers, but mentioning he could not remember anything else, which Enola was grateful for, as she now found those memories embarrassing. However, Enola was now sad that Sherlock had only come back due to their mother missing.
Thinking back to the presents her mother had given her, Enola found a clue telling her to look in her mother's chrysanthemums. Looking through the paintings, she found money with a message which said: "our future is up to us." She wants to a train station, which surprised Mycroft when it was time to go. At her home, Mycroft is asked not to abandon Enola as he once had.
On the train, Enola was shocked to see a young man get out of a suitcase in her carriage. She ordered him to leave, but he ignored her, presenting himself as Viscount Tewkesbury, the Marquess of Basilwether, also stating he had performed a daring escape, only to be told there was a man with a bowler hat searching for him. After leaving the carriage, he promptly returned after seeing the man was looking in every carriage. He asked Enola for help, but she refused, leaving the carriage only to return as she saw the man attempting to kill her new acquaintance. The man started following them only to lose them as they both jumped onto a grass hill.
Enola and the boy thought about making camp, and Tewkesbury told her to start a fire so he could grab mushrooms and other bits of food. Enola told her acquaintance to disguise himself, and they share different family losses and the reasons they left their homes. The two agreed on going to London, but Enola mentioned as soon as they got there, they would go on their separate ways.
When Enola got to London, she found she was not quite prepared to face the outside world, also realising that to hide from her brothers effectively, she would have to become something unexpected. She bought herself a dress and asked for a good value lodging house, but found herself in a room with rats inside. She began the next phase of her plan, which was unscrambling a set of letters she asked to advertise on newspapers so her mother might see it. She visited a tea shop her mother usually addressed letters to and found a woman named Edith, who knew who she was. The woman presented herself as her first teacher and attacked her only to be thrown by Enola. Edith mentioned that it was possible Eudoria did not want to be found. Still, Enola recognised her as someone she had seen in one of her mother's meetings, remembering the name Ellie Houseman. Enola asked her what the name meant, but did not receive an answer and was thrown to the floor. Enola attempted to use a move called the corkscrew but failed, reminding Edith that she had never gotten the hang of it.
Enola unscrambled the name Ellie Houseman only to find out her mother meant Limehouse Lane. When she got there, she found flyers, gun powder, and letters of protest, all of which she found to be intended for explosions throughout the city. She realised Sherlock and Mycroft were right about her mother being dangerous and having a plan. As she left Limehouse Lane, she was grabbed by the man with the bowler hat, who submerged her face in the water and demanded to know where Tewkesbury was. Enola pretended she did know who she was before admitting they were not together. The man was disappointed and mentioned Enola had now seen his face, so he forced her head underwater until Enola stopped moving, which turned out to be part of a trick. This allowed Enola to escape momentarily before hand-to-hand combat ensued. Enola once again tried using the corkscrew but to no avail. In the end, Enola managed to escape by setting light to some powder, which led to a bigger explosion, but realised she would have to find and help Tewkesbury.
To hide, Enola disguised herself as a widow and arrived at Basilwether Hall, Tewkesbury's family home. When asked what she wanted, she mentioned she was a detective but was dismissed by Tewkesbury's uncle until she said she worked for Sherlock Holmes and was his assistant. She was interrupted by Inspector Lestrade, who mentioned she did not know Sherlock Holmes, as Sherlock was a close friend of his. The argument caused both of them to be asked to leave. Outside, Enola asked where Tewksbury could be and was told by a worker that he could be in the woods.
Sherlock tracked Edith down to ask her if she knew where Eudoria was but got no answer; while Mycroft went to get a shave, where he met Lestrade, who told him about his encounter with Enola to find her. He offered Lestrade a reward if he could see her again.
Enola went to the woods where she found Tewkesbury's treehouse. While up there, she found notes he had written in which he wrote false plans, so people would look for him where he led them to. Wondering what his real intent was, she looked around for clues but was interrupted by the young marquess' grandmother, who treated her to a walk and asked her to leave afterwards, lest she is arrested. She also requested Enola to tell Tewkesbury that she cared for him.
Enola finds Tewkesbury selling flowers, finding he went to London because he wanted to be lost there, and wondered if she was there because of the reward they were offering for seeing him. Still, she told him she had grown to like him in his absence and worried his life was in danger. They left and went to the room she was renting to hide. There, Enola agonised over the message she had sent to be deciphered on the newspaper, which made Tewkesbury feel pity for her. Enola pointed out Tewkesbury was being chased after his money and title just like his father had and mentioned the brach that had almost fallen on top of him had been cut. They were interrupted by Lestrade, who Enola hit in the face with a teapot. After a brief chase, Enola convinced Tewkesbury to leave as she was caught by Lestrade, who took him to Mycroft. Enola was taken to the boarding school, where Ms Harrison was waiting for her.
At the boarding school, Enola did not meet expectations in regards to her behaviour and performance, which led her to be talked to by Ms Harrison, who revealed she knew her mother. Ms Harrison mentioned Eudoria was "challenging" and only cared for her ideas. One day, Sherlock visited Enola. He told her he had not found their mother and congratulated her on becoming a good detective. He also gave her Dash, who Eudoria had kept all those years. Afterwards, Enola received a package supposedly sent by Mycroft. However, the package turned out to be Tewkesbury, who tried to help her escape. Enola hid in the box Tewkesbury had come in and ultimately managed to escape. After leaving, Enola figured out Tewkesbury's uncle had murdered his father, so she decided to go to Basilwether.
When they arrived, they were met with gunshots fired by the man with the bowler hat. Enola and Tewkesbury tried getting a jump on him, but he overpowered both of them and started choking Tewkesbury. On the floor, Enola heard her mother telling her she was not alone. She dragged herself to the man and performed a successful corkscrew move on him, which caused him to hit his head. Asking him, who he worked for, the man died after saying "England." Hearing footsteps nearing, Tewkesbury figured out they belonged to his grandmother, who realised she needed to do things herself, as the man with the bowler hat had not served her well. She pointed at Tewkesbury and apologised for her actions, but justified them by saying it was for the future of England before shooting her grandson in the chest. As she tried to shoot Enola, the bullets ran out, and so the young woman went to check on her friend. While grabbing his hand, she felt Tewkesbury wrap his fingers through her hand and revealed he was wearing armour. After hugging, the two got up, with Tewkesbury declaring her grandmother's time to be finished.
At the police station, Sherlock was received by Lestrade, where he told the inspector the Dowager wanted Tewkesbury's uncle to be the successor to stand against a reform bull and the extension of the vote, which would not be in line with what Tewkesbury would want. Sherlock also deduced the young man's uncle was not present during the murdering of Tewkesbury's father, as he had been serving in Afghan war at the time. Sherlock was startled, however, when Inspector Lestrade asked him how Enola had managed to put the pieces together before he had.
On the day of the vote, Enola visited Tewkesbury. She revealed she was living somewhere else now that she had the reward money the young marquess' mother was offering, but Tewkesbury offered her to stay at his home, which she kindly refused. Asking how he would see her again, Enola told him it would not be the last time they saw each other. Picking up the newspaper, Enola saw a clue, which she deciphered, telling her to meet her at the Royal Academy. Enola found it odd it was signed "mother" and not "chrysanthemum", and also found the location weird, as the Royal Academy only accepted men. This led Enola to conclude it was Sherlock's doing.
At the Royal Academy, Sherlock and Mycroft waited. There, Sherlock asked to let Enola be his ward, offering to take care of her, which Mycroft accepted. They discussed Tewkesbury, who turned out to be the decisive vote, and Sherlock suspected had a thing for Enola. As they left to get a drink, Sherlock found Dash on the statue in the middle and placed it back. Enola watched her brothers pass by the newspaper stand she was at and went back for Dash before going home, where she saw her mother, who said she could not stay long.
Eudoria apologised, saying she wanted to tell Enola where she was going, but it would not be safe. She said she left because of Enola for the world in its current state be in her future. She congratulated Enola on what she did for the reform bill and the woman she had become. The two hugged, and Eudoria told her if she ever needed her, she would always be looking at the newspapers.
Enola concluded that she must find her path, and believed to have done so as a detective and finder of lost souls, while also acknowledging her life as her own.
- Millie Bobby Brown as Enola Holmes
- Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes
- Sam Claflin as Mycroft Holmes
- Helena Bonham Carter as Eudoria Holmes
- Louis Partridge as Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether
- Burn Gorman as Linthorn
- Adeel Akhtar as Inspector Lestrade
- Susan Wokoma as Edith Grayston
- Hattie Morahan as Lady Caroline Tewkesbury, Marchioness of Basilwether
- David Bamber as Sir Whimbrel Tewkesbury
- Frances de la Tour as the Dowager Lady Basilwether
- Claire Rushbrook as Mrs Lane
- Fiona Shaw as Miss Harrison
In February 2019, Legendary announced that they had closed a deal Harry Bradbeer to direct an adaptation of the The Enola Holmes Mysteries, a children's mystery series by Nancy Springer, starring Millie Bobby Brown. Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin were later announced to have joined the film as Enola's older brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, with Helena Bonham Carter playing the siblings' mother, Eudoria. Filming commenced on-location in London in July 2019 and finished in September.
In April 2020, Netflix acquired international distribution rights for the film from Warner Bros. in all markets except China. In June, Netflix announced that the film would be released in September and released the first promotional images of the film. The same day, the Conan Doyle Estate announced a lawsuit against Netflix and Nancy Springer, claiming that the film and novels used elements from stories in The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes that remained under copyright, such as Holmes expressing emotions and caring for Watson. On August 17, Netflix released the first teaser for the film, and confirmed a release date of September 23. A full trailer was released on August 25.
Differences from the novel
The film has several differences from The Case of the Missing Marquess. Most significantly, the film replaces the novel's main villain, Cutter, with the new character of Tewkesbury's grandmother, the Dowager. It also changes the culprit's motive from kidnapping Tewkesbury for financial reasons to attempting to murder him for political ones. Enola does not reunite with her mother in the novel, though she learns she has gone to live with the gipsies as a way of escaping stifling Victorian social expectations. In contrast, in the film, Eudoria leaves to further her revolutionary activities.
Enola Holmes generally received positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a critical approval rating of 92% Fresh based on 84 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10, and an audience approval score of 83%, with an average rating of 4.15/5. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Reviewers characterized the movie as light, playful, and entertaining, with most praising Brown's portrayal of Enola.
In its debut weekend Enola Holmes was the second most-watched item on Netflix, behind the TV series Ratched. Over its first five days it was the most watched film on Netflix, as the film would go on to become the biggest first day opening Netflix title in 2020 as well as dominating the largest number of Netflix's monitored countries. In October 2020, Netflix reported the film was on-track to have 76 million households watch the film over its first four weeks of release. In November, Variety reported that according to data by ScreenEngine/ASI the film was the 13th-most watched straight-to-streaming title of 2020 up to that date. The film was the seventh most searched film globally on Google in 2020. 
The film ranked 7th on Business Insider's Biggest Netflix Original Movies Of All Time with 78 million viewiership. Due to its viewed numbers for the first 28 days of its release, it was green-lit for a sequel.
In September 2020, producer and star Millie Bobby Brown and director Harry Bradbeer acknowledged their intentions to develop a sequel. Brown thought only about making the first film but loved playing the character and said it would be a dream to do it again.
- Enola's introduction of her brother Sherlock uses of several Sidney Paget illustrations from the original Holmes stories, two of which are modified to give Holmes Henry Caville's face.
- During the scene where Enola is trying to figure out what phase of her plan she's on, when the cards are flashing, there is a card that says "Do I love Tewkesbury?".
- Netflix (2020-08-17). "Promotional Tweet confirming release date.".
- Business Wire (2019-07-22). "Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill to Star as Sherlock and His Exceptional Younger Sister, “Enola Holmes,” as Legendary Pictures Begins Production in London to Bring Nancy Springer’s Bestselling Books to the Big Screen".
- Kroll, Justin (2019-02-08). "‘Killing Eve’ Director to Helm Millie Bobby Brown’s ‘Enola Holmes’ (EXCLUSIVE)".
- Kit, Boris (2020-04-21). "Netflix Picks Up Millie Bobby Brown's 'Enola Holmes' from Legendary".
- Robertson, Adi (2020-06-25). "Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate sues Netflix for giving Sherlock Holmes too many feelings".
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- (September 24, 2020). "'Enola Holmes' Debuts At No. 2 On Netflix Most-Watched List".
- (September 28, 2020). "'Ava' Joins 'Antebellum' Atop VOD Charts While 'Enola Holmes' Rules at Netflix".
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- Tomáš Vyskočil (9 October 2020). "Biggest Netflix Titles in 2020 According to the Netflix Top 10s".
- (October 20, 2020). "'The Old Guard' Viewed By 78 Million Households in First Four Weeks, Says Netflix".
- (November 4, 2020). "DATA: 'BORAT 2' SECOND ONLY TO 'HAMILTON' IN MOST-WATCHED U.S. SVOD MOVIES OF 2020".
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- (May 13, 2020). "'Enola Holmes' Sequel A Go At Netflix With Millie Bobby Brown And Henry Cavill Set To Return".