If the first film about Enola Holmes was about the search for her free-spirited mother, completing the process of raising a sixteen-year-old girl to independence and testing the limits of the tight-knit Victorian era, the second one, distributed again by Netflix, is about the need for cooperation. And not only to achieve social change, but also when solving a detective case.
Inspired by a real event
It is inspired by a real-life historical event in 1988, known as the Match Girls’ Strike, when worker Sarah Chapman organized the first industrial strike organized by women at the Bryant & May match factory in London. The goal of the strike was to draw attention to the unsatisfactory working conditions of these women, threatening their health.
The sequel thus deviates from Nancy Springer’s book template and goes its own way. While the first film was based on the opening part of the book series The Case of the Missing Marquis, the second film takes from the second part of this series The Case of the Philanthropic Lefty, in addition to the framing social-class commentary, only the basic plot structure that the main character establishes her own detective agency and embarks on a search for the missing girl. And then some elements of it, like getting clues through love correspondence.
The missing young woman in the film is Sarah Chapman. The older sister of the girl Bessie, who comes to report her disappearance at the moment when Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) is seriously thinking of closing her detective business. She is facing mistrust from potential customers, for whom she is too young and inexperienced. Clients consider her more like a secretary, or an intermediary to her famous older brother.
Not so Bessie, with whom he goes to the match factory, where he begins to investigate the clues that Sarah left behind. And not only there, but also in the cabaret, where she performed in the evenings. The threads of the case gradually begin to come together, and with them also indications not only of Sarah’s connection with a mysterious man from higher circles, but also of the fact that the deaths of the girls in the factory may not have been typhus, as her management tries to present.
The need for cooperation
Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill) also solves his case of corruption of government officials, while it turns out that the two cases are somehow connected and that his sister’s life is in danger because of them. The merciless Inspector Grail (David Thewlis) is after her neck, who accuses her of murder. Not only her brother, but also her mother (Helena Bonham Carter), Edith (Susan Wokoma) and amorous Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge) have to help Enola in her mess.
The romantic line between him and Enola continues to maintain a chaste quality, although you can tell how they are gradually emboldening each other. For example, in the scene where the young lord teaches her to dance. At the same time, they are partners in danger as they learn the skills to face him. This is also one of the messages of the film, that if you want to move forward or push something, learn to cooperate with others who can help you in this.
Even Enola Holmes has to understand this, as she tries to step out of her brother’s shadow and runs into the limits of what she can handle on her own. Her representative, 18-year-old Millie Bobby Brown, sympathetically portrays the contradiction between a rationally thinking adept of the detective craft and an emotionally torn teenager.
Her facial expressions and expressive looks with which she reacts to situations, combined with breaking the fourth wall when she addresses the audience directly, continue to be entertaining. Right at the beginning, for example, she interrupts the sequence where she runs away from the police to explain how it happened.
Characters from the Sherlockian world
This Guyritchie style of storytelling was already used by director Harry Bradbeer in number one, and he continues it here, knowing that he is making a light-hearted spectacle for the whole family that does not take itself too seriously. He continues to add animated drawings, motion picture deductions during case solving, slow and fast shots and flashbacks to it. The backdrops of London still show their digital origin, the creators have taken care of the costumes and the set.
Sherlock Holmes gets more space here than in number one, not only as Enola’s brother, who can learn more emotional openness from her, but also as a detective. Who is absent compared to her is Enola’s eldest brother Mycroft. There is Inspector Lestrade and two other important characters from Sherlock’s world appear here, only in different gender and racial variations than we are used to. One of them, the antagonistic one, brings a new dynamic to the relationship with Holmes, which will certainly be used in the next works.
The book series has eight volumes, so there is a lot to draw from. Even after the second part, the film shows potential for growth. The number two is not behind the number one, but it does not significantly exceed it in terms of quality either. He works with the coming of age of young heroes and their romantic bond, in the case of the sibling between Enola and Sherlock, he looks for points of contact between their characters, which at the same time become the source of their verbal fights. The influence and upbringing of their mother is also more and more evident on the personality of the siblings.
In terms of the threat that Enola faces, Netflix’s Victorian detective is closer to the adult ones, but inside it retains the teenage playfulness, immediacy and inquisitiveness of the main character. Not only thanks to her, but also the involvement of characters from the Sherlockian world, I will continue to look forward to the next parts.
Enola Holmes 2
- Genre: detective
- Original name: Enola Holmes 2
- USA, 2022
- Screenplay: Jack Thorne (written by Nancy Springer)
- Directed by: Harry Bradbeer
- Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter, Louis Partridge, David Thewlis, Adeel Akhtar, Susan Wokoma, Hannah Dodd, Sharon Duncan-Brewster
- Distribution: Netflix
- Distribution premiere in the Czech Republic: November 4, 2022
Netflix is a popular streaming video service. In addition to the films, series and documentaries it buys, it also produces its own content. There are also many popular Czech films, a large part of foreign productions contain Czech subtitles, some titles also have Czech dubbing.