Director Harry Bradbeer brought life to Nancy Stringer’s first instalment of the work, The Enola Holmes Mysteries with the 2020 movie, Enola Holmes. Starring Millie Bobby Brown as Enola, Henry Cavill as Sherlock and Sam Claflin as Mycroft, this movie was released on 23rd September and has already received a loud applaud from the audience.
Enola Holmes is the story of fierce feminism of a 16-year-old girl, in 19th century London. It’s the 1884 and women are fighting for suffrage and equality laws.
Enola Holmes is not conventionally feminine as she had the tendency to break away from derogatory expectations of society. She has an extraordinary upbringing where her mother enriched her with values that matter and none that would embellish her with faux femininity. From Joan of Arc to myth of Thalestris, the Warrior Queen and from physics and martial arts to table tennis, Eudora Holmes(Helena Bonham Carter) taught little Enola everything a girl must know to capable, strong and independent, some qualities that were not agreeable with women of those ages.
Her impeccable bond with her mother is put to questions on her 16th birthday as her mother goes missing. Here we are introduced to her two brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock. While Mycroft is traditional and absolutely ridicules feminism and thinks her mother to be senile, Sherlock is decisive about his detachment from politics. Until of course his little sister is at trouble. The amicable yet distant bond between Sherlock and Enola that blooms eventually due to the shared quality of sharp mind is beautiful. But it also draws a clear picture of what the 19th century meant to women. Powerless, uncredited and oppressed was the condition of every girl or woman.
What should be drawn to attention is that men might have been privileged, guy women at the end of the day held most accounts for oppressing other women and distorting them since a young age. A sharp contrast of women who oppress women and men who uplift women have been drawn
While privileged men like Mycroft criticize women for reading Subjection of Women, it is the narrowed thought of women like Miss Harrison that is shameful.
At the same time, it’s equally exhilarating to see empowering male characters like Lord Tewksbury (Louis Patridge) who isn’t insecure of his masculinity and gladly breaks his gender roles to uplifts women.
Just like every other profession, from being an author to a detective, representation of women in a field dominated by men is scarce in the 19th century. The Royal Academy founded in 1768 was true “an institution that consistently neglected to include women”. Even to prove her worth as a detective, or simply a woman worth listening to, Enola had to take the shelter of her brother Sherlock’s name.
Under the layers of misogyny, patriarchy and toxic masculinity, we find buds of feminism and equality bloom through works of certain extraordinary women who believed “you have to make some noise to be heard, Enola”.
Enola Holmes is indeed a wholesome work of fiction which is intertwined with strings of reality. While it promotes feminism it doesn’t preach misandry. It is a perfect coming of age movie that balances what is to be and what it was with charm, fun and comedy.