fb-pixelSherlock Holmes has a sister? Yes, and her name’s Enola. - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

Sherlock Holmes has a sister? Yes, and her name’s Enola.

Millie Bobby Brown returns as the title character in ‘Enola Holmes 2,’ on Netflix, with Henry Cavill as her famous detective brother

Millie Bobby Brown in "Enola Holmes 2."Alex Bailey/Netflix © 2022

Don’t tell A. Conan Doyle, but Sherlock Holmes has a kid sister. Her name is Enola. Readers of Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes series of YA mystery novels know this. So do viewers of the 2020 Netflix movie “Enola Holmes.” Now there’s a sequel. You will not be surprised to learn that it’s called “Enola Holmes 2.”

It starts streaming Nov. 4.

Like the earlier movie, this one is a bit too long and far too busy, but it’s often quite entertaining. There are laughs and romance to go along with mystery and adventure. The return of Henry Cavill, as Sherlock, and Helena Bonham Carter, as Sherlock’s and Enola’s on-the-lam suffragist mother, is welcome. The return of Millie Bobby Brown, as Enola, is very welcome.


Anyone who’s seen “Stranger Things” knows what a marvel Brown is. She has a rare actorly gravity, all the rarer in one so young (Brown’s 18). It’s a treat to see her get the chance to be high spirited, funny, and kick-ass. Bad guys, watch out: Enola knows jiu jitsu.

From left: Henry Cavill, Millie Bobby Brown, and Louis Partridge in "Enola Holmes 2."Alex Bailey/Netflix © 2022

The character narrates the film and frequently addresses the camera. Enola doesn’t just break the fourth wall. She tickles it, winks at it, and tugs at its sleeve. With another actress, this would be annoying. With Brown, it’s charming. Is it a gimmick? Sure, but a gimmick that works isn’t a gimmick. It’s a device. Enola talking to the camera is a device, and a good one. Her knowing looks turn viewers into co-conspirators.

The movie begins with Enola opening her own detective agency. A solo young woman doing that today might raise eyebrows. Her doing so in Victorian London really raises them. “But you’re a — girl?” a prospective client sputters. “Yes, I am,” Enola says, demonstrating the powers of deduction that run in her family. “Tell me,” asks another possible customer, “might your brother be free?” Considering the degree of sibling rivalry that exists in the Holmes clan, this is not the wisest inquiry to make.


Fortunately, a client comes along who isn’t put off by Enola’s being so young or so female. It’s someone even younger and just as female. “Is it true you find lost people?” she asks. Her sister has disappeared. Enola is on the case.

Millie Bobby Brown, left, and Helena Bonham Carter in "Enola Holmes 2."Alex Bailey/Netflix © 2022

The sister worked in a match factory near the Thames. Enola pretends to be one of the workers. Going undercover there is one of several colorful period settings she enters. (The movie’s big on production values.) Enola goes backstage at a music hall and attends a fancy dress ball. She feels most out of place at that last one.

While there she encounters another returnee from the first movie, her sort-of beau, Lord Tewkesbury. In the role, Louis Partridge has to walk a fine line between being boy-band cute, which he is, and aristocratically dim, which he can convey. It’s easy to see what draws him to Enola. Partridge lets us see what draws her to Tewkesbury. True, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but neither is he the dullest. This makes him an excellent straight man. “You’re wanted by the police?” he asks, aghast. “Of course I am,” she replies, with characteristic Enola aplomb.

Millie Bobby Brown in "Enola Holmes 2."Alex Bailey/Netflix © 2022

The director, Harry Bradbeer, has done a lot of very good British television, including both seasons of “Fleabag” and some “Killing Eve” episodes. Restraint is not his thing. Enola breaks the fourth wall. He has the other walls do backflips. There are overhead shots, freeze frames, animated bits, sped-up footage. It gets to be a bit much.


Part of the fun of the “Enola” movies is how they play off of Holmesian expectations. Sherlock and Enola’s older brother, Mycroft, who appeared in the previous movie, does not return. As in the first film, Inspector Lestrade is his usual bungling self, though here he answers to a suspicious police constable (”suspicious” in both senses of the word) played by the ever-excellent David Thewlis. Professor Moriarty makes a deliciously uncanonical appearance. As for Doctor Watson, well, let’s just say Enola is as talented at matchmaking as she is at detection.



Directed by Harry Bradbeer. Written by Bradbeer and Jack Thorne; based on the “Enola Holmes Mysteries” series by Nancy Springer. Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter, David Thewlis, Louis Partridge. Streaming on Netflix. 128 minutes. PG-13 (some violence and bloody images)

Mark Feeney can be reached at mark.feeney@globe.com.