Feminism in “Enola Holmes” By Jenna Moloney


Enola Holmes

Enola Holmes promotional poster

Enola Holmes” is a film about Sherlock Holmes’ little sister. At a time when women are encouraged to sit down and be quiet, Enola Holmes runs away and makes a lot of noise. She battles the oppression of a misogynistic society and is even forced to attend a reform school where they teach “proper manners” and how to do “womanly duties,” like embroidery.  Enola’s defiance of this cultural construct is what makes this film a win for feminism.

Against her better judgment, Enola ends up saving the life of a young boy, who she later discovers is a prince running away from his monarchal duties. Knowing that he is safe, and that she has her own life to lead, she says goodbye to him and continues on with her original plan of finding her “lost” mother. However, it’s soon revealed to her (through a  near-death experience) that the prince is actually in much more danger than she  thought, and she delivers this powerful line that stuck with me even after the film was over: “He has not the strength to stop them, but I do have that strength.” In the deliverance of this line, she ponders why she feels guilty about leaving him alone. She realizes it is because it’s her responsibility to protect him if she knows he  does not have the power to control his fate, but she does. I think it is here that she also realizes she has grown fond of him, though she has not yet admitted that to herself. But the most important part of this line is where she declares she is strong, and she knows it.

There are many cases of mystery that plague England at this time, and Enola’s sudden absence from her home (as well as the prince’s) are two of those cases, although they become quickly intertwined. Someone is trying to kill the prince, and that is yet another case that needs to be solved. Sherlock is of course trying to solve these cases as well, on top of trying to find his own mother. Although Enola is “just a girl,” she may have solved the cases before her famous detective of a brother.

In her battle with finding her own path and helping the prince find his, she ends up saving the entire country of England by making sure a reform bill gets passed. I do not want to give away too much of the plot, as I feel this movie is worth seeing. Does she ever find her mother? Does the prince finally become safe from harm? Is he allowed to live the life he wants to live? Do Enola and the prince end up together at the end of the movie?

Watch the film to find out!

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