Yeah, It’s Gonna Suck: Enola Holmes

I kind of feel sorry for Millie Bobby Brown, even though I’m certain that this is not going to last. 

Today’s sweet and spunky, sixteen-year-old Emma Watson will be tomorrow’s thirty-year-old, Critical Race Cultist Emma Watson. She appears to be headed strongly in that direction already. And given the world, Brown inhabits there’s really nothing I can foresee that will derail her from arriving at that destination. 

Nonetheless, I can currently feel a little sorry for her, she’s far too young to recognize a good project from a bad one, and apparently, nobody else in her life can recognize them either.

Witness; Godzilla King of the Monsters or her to-be-released-next-year project; Enola Holmes.

No. Wait.  My mistake. Enola Holmes has been bumped up from a theatrical release next year to a Netflix launch in two days. Yeah, dumped on Netflix is always a sign of quality.  Clearly, it was testing about as well as you think it would after you see the trailer. 

Hopefully, you can make it to the end of it. 

It started off by breaking the 4th wall. This is called non-diagenesis and it’s usually a very worrying sign. It strongly suggests a screenwriter who has bitten off more than… Hang on a second, checking the credits… he can chew.  The screenwriter appears to be a man despite what his picture would indicate. Although this movie is based on a series of young adult novels by a (presumably) woman named Nancy Springer. Full disclosure, I have not read these books, but I did do a little thumbing through and the prose appears to be quite competent and highly engaging. 

Regardless, non-diagenesis is tricky to get right.  I’m not saying it can’t work, I’m saying it can be tricky.  Sometimes.  In a musical, for example, the songs are (generally) non-diegetic.  The story halts for a moment and characters sing and dance.

The books were written in first-person.  This is completely diegetic (if tricky in its own right). However, having Millie Bobby Brown turn, face the camera and narrate is non-diegetic.  The story halts so she can tell the audience about things.

There is respect for authorial intent and there is fucking things up in bringing them to the screen.

I’m not saying breaking the fourth wall can’t work. Obviously, it can. When Richard III makes an aside to the audience, he is taking you, the audience member, further into the story by making you his co-conspirator. The evil king-to-be clearly trusts and values you.  You are now part of his plot to bring down his family and place himself on the throne. You are now part of the story.

That is not the same as narrating.

In this case it is narrating and doing so breaks rule one, “Show don’t tell.”

It’s a bad start. 

Worse still, this feels like a blatant invitation for the audience to hold Enola in as high a regard as the universe that she is the center of, does.

Anyway, we see (and have explained to us) that Enola and her mother (Helena Bonham-Carter) are Victorian manic-pixie-dream-girls.  Then her mother vanishes without a trace and she heads off to London to collect her older brothers Sherlock and Mycroft. 

She’s smarter than her socially superior boyfriend.  Smarter than either of her brothers, (especially Mycroft). And generally loved by everyone she meets in the trailer unless they are bad people.

Basically, I’m sure she’s yet another feminist Mary-Sue.  

Yeah, it’s gonna suck.

12 thoughts on “Yeah, It’s Gonna Suck: Enola Holmes

  1. Going into this, I had assumed that Enola was Sherlock’s daughter; how naive of me! She obviously has to be his sister, or you could get the impression that this strong female hero was inspired by a man or something!
    (But stealing a man’s shtick is totally fine, as Batwoman taught us.)

    “Enola and her mother are Victorian manic-pixie-dream-girls.”
    Do you hear the words “heads of a refuge for battered women” coming from this general direction as well?

    “Then her mother vanishes without a trace”
    How interesting; and a rapid check on Wikipedia reveals that her father is not on the cast’s list. Gee, you don’t think that maybe…?

    Oh, and I can’t help noticing that you haven’t mentioned at all the wise* black woman from the poster – are a you a racist or something?
    *I’m just going to assume she’s wise.

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  2. I met Nancy Springer a couple times, and have a signed paperback. Her writing styles were good and mostly crisp, defined characters and roles, for YA and other titles. However, it’s about 25 yrs since the divorce, and the feminist threads in her books must have become cables in these (mid – late 50s). I’ll borrow from our library and get an indication.

    Add a male feminist screenwriter, and get disaster.

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  3. The SJWs just can’t keep their hands off of Sherlock Holmes lately. That’s because they envision him as some kind of SuperGeek autistic who can just pull the answer to every mystery out of his hat. And they like to imagine themselves as being just like him – a progressive, enlightened smartypants who smugly triumphs over the brutish and unenlightened with a clever quip. If the SJWs are not turning Holmes into a Mary Sue (or Watson into a woman and THEN into a Mary Sue,) they’re turning Holmes and Mycroft into idiots and making Holmes’ (imaginary) SISTER into a Mary Sue.

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  4. so her mother is her “everything”, and she doesn’t seem to have had any involvement with her brothers. we shan’t speak of her father, as obviously he was completely useless.

    and how Narcissistic is it to name your daughter an anagram of “alone” AFTER having birthed two sons … and then to force her to be alone with you for all of her childhood?

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    1. No, but you see, it will turn out that she had a Perfectly Good Reason to do that – again, the father will probably turn out to be the Secret Villain, and the mother needed to keep Enola safe or something; heck, even the name being “alone” backwards will probably have some Very Deep & Very Moving Meaning.

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  5. What is it with these people and sewing? The value of embroidery is as a productive way to master the various stitches. You need to master them to make – and mend -your clothes, so you aren’t a worthless parasite of a woman. Where in the bonnie blue blazes do these young fools imagine the dresses Enola wears come from?

    Even Jo March, 19th century tomboy extraordinaire, and future career woman, knew how to sew! (As does the daughter product: she is currently hand-stitching a skirt of her own design.)

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