Director: Harry Bradbeer
This film looked exciting especially since we have a girl as a leading character. Therefore, I thought it was going to be a true feminist story. As it turns out, I was a bit disappointed.
The film narrates a story of Enola Holmes, younger sister of Sherlock Holmes who is equally able to solve complex problems and does not lack in Sherlock’s famous intelligence. The film starts with Enola telling us about growing up with her mother who taught her how to read puzzles and thus Enola can read and decode very complex messages. Nevertheless, her own name is code for alone spelt backwards. Enola also tells us the story of growing up with her unconventional mother who taught her stuff boys were learning at the time, such as self-defence, fighting, and the emphasis of her upbringing was heavily on education, including chemistry and other hard sciences.
I was thrilled with this introduction and thought that the comment on Enola’s mother being mad for being a feminist and raising Enola as an independent woman was hilarious. Well, I was in for a surprise because it seems that this is precisely what the film suggests.
The story centres around Enola’s mother going missing and Enola, who escapes girls’ school her brothers locked her up in, goes onto searching for her. What we find out is that her mother was a member of Suffragettes and she is portrayed as a terrorist to the dismay of both Enola and Sherlock. The only thing we find out is Enola saying, ‘how could she’ and expressing concerns about her mother being a militant. That is it. No context, no story, nothing. Just a dismissal of Suffraggetes as terrorists and lunatics, which is just outrageous. I am fully aware of the militant wing of British Suffragettes under the leadership of Chystable Pankhurst but this not explained or discussed. The only thing we see from the Suffraggete’s movement are their colours. Accompany this with the above poor narrative and there is a conclusion that can be subliminally put into people’s heads, Suffragettes are terrorists and feminists are lunatics!
The film, since it does not tackle the Suffragette movement actually goes into a romantic and unrealistic story of Enola looking for her mother and there is a hint of romance with a young Lord who escaped murder from his own family because of his progressive views.
The ending of the film is kind of progressive with Enola not falling for societal rules and staying true to herself, but anyway, I was disappointed with the narrative on Suffraggetes so I can’t say I think highly of this film, which is sad because it has a good potential and started well.
Thank you for reading.