Last night my husband and I watched Enola Holmes, the new hit movie on Netflix. Super-cute Millie Bobby Brown stars as Enola, Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister. Unusual for Netflix, the movie is pretty clean, with no sex or nudity. And it’s genuinely fun to watch – action-packed, with beautiful Victorian sets and sassy dialogue.
Unfortunately, Enola Holmes is also packed with progressive propaganda. I spotted the promotion of at least five messages that are hostile to biblical truth.
1. Tradition is bad. The central plot line revolves around Enola and her mother fighting Victorian tradition. The few characters who support traditional ways (Mycroft Holmes, the headmistress of the finishing school, the matriarch of the Tewkesbury estate) are horrible, one-dimensional villains. Of course, some traditions are unjust and require reform. Nonetheless, we should exercise humility and charity when judging those who have gone before.
2. Violence on behalf of change is understandable and forgivable. Enola’s mother (Eudoria) was a violent suffragette. She was basically a domestic terrorist, bombs and all. Enola and Sherlock did express mild discomfort at this discovery. Yet on the whole, Eudoria was portrayed in a positive light, as a heroine who bravely fought for necessary change. The parallels to BLM rioting were not subtle.
3. To be free, women must reject the natural family. Both Enola and Eudoria refused to live according to society’s rules, rejecting the natural family in the process. We hear very little about father Holmes, who mysteriously passed away when Enola was little. Eudoria and Enola lived an idyllic life together, without men, until Enola turned 16. Then, Eudoria abandoned the home and Enola to pursue political agitating. At several points, Enola expressed disgust at the thought of being happily married (which Mycroft and the headmistress wanted for her). Enola also turned down a romantic relationship with young Viscount Tewkesbury – even though she cared for him – to pursue her solo ambitions.
4. To be free, women must become like men. Enola knows martial arts, which she learned from her mother and a historically-anomalous black female instructor. Enola holds her own wrestling with a grown male assassin and eventually [SPOILER ALERT] kills him without a knife or gun. This kind of girl power action scene is biological nonsense. Enola also disguises herself as a man on at three occasions. Twice, she pays men to “change clothes with her,” in a nod to transgenderism. The message is that women must fight, dress, and act like men in order to be free.
5. Women must follow their dreams above all else (even if others have to pay for it). Enola’s dream is to be a detective like her brother Sherlock. She achieves this dream almost instantly, by rejecting the patriarchy and hanging out her own shingle. At the age of 16. With no business experience. In reality, the hated Mycroft was financing Enola’s life and adventures. By the end of the movie, Enola had transitioned from Mycroft’s dole to “reward money” from the Twekesbury estate. Just to rub salt in the wound, Eudoria became an activist and community organizer by deceiving Mycroft into sending her lots of money. The movie does not criticize Enola or Eudoria for taking money from the men they reject.
As a bonus point, don’t expect an accurate portrayal of English history from Enola Holmes. The Third Reform Act of 1884 was quite technical (and never explained in the movie). The Act extended the right to vote to many middle and working-class men. At the same time, 40% of men and all women remained unrepresented. Women did not win the right to vote until 1918. While the Third Reform Act was an important step toward universal suffrage, it was more moderate than radical. Prime Minister William Gladstone used diplomacy, not violence, to get the Act passed.
In Enola Holmes, social justice warriors have found a winning formula. Convert the masses with charm and style! (That certainly goes down easier than looting and vandalism). At the risk of curmudgeonry, I urge believers to keep your worldview filters handy. Even better, use the film as a springboard to talk about true freedom, true feminine beauty, the vital role of the natural family, and the pitfalls of wholesale rejection of tradition.