Tag Archives: Acting

enola holmes tablet

Enola “But Sherlock never had a sister!!!” Holmes. A review.

Everyone loves a famous fictional bloodline. In the 1990s, author Nancy Springer used the beloved Sherlock Holmes canon as a springboard for her young adult (YA) mystery novel series, and the revered detective gained a baby sister.

Palpably aimed at youngsters (my friend’s 12-year-old loved it), the Netflix adaptation is a star vehicle for Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown, a bit like, say, Ballet Shoes was for Emma Watson.

They did choose to cast a big name- Henry Cavill – as Sherlock. Fans certainly wanted to see ‘his take’ on the detective. Amidst all the media frenzy over what is essentially just a family film, there was a bit of macho resentment that a popular actor in such an iconic role might be outdone by a girl.

We establish that our heroine likes to talk to the camera Fleabag-style (courtesy of director Harry Bradbeer). She had an idyllic, if unconventional, childhood in the countryside. Her father died when she was an infant, and Sherlock and older brother Mycroft (Sam Claflin) left home to be masters of the universe.

She does share a close bond with her mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), who taught her loads of cool stuff, from chess and chemistry to archery and jiu-jitsu.

Callously, Eudoria does a runner on her daughter’s 16th birthday, leaving behind a trail of clues that draw us to London. While hunting for her mother, Enola has to evade Mycroft, who wants to send her to a boarding school run by Harry Potter’s Aunt Petunia (Fiona Shaw).

She teams up with fellow runaway Viscount Tewksbury, a sensitive soul rejecting a predetermined life of military service. They get embroiled in a conspiracy revolving around the Reform Act being opposed by traditionalists like Mycroft, who think the country doesn’t need more uneducated voters. Errr..

It’s an easy first case, as the budding detective succeeds on charm and coded messages involving the ‘Language of Flowers’, commonly used by ladies of the era. 

She’s aged up from the first novel, where she was 14 when her mother left to join a group of travellers. Bonham Carter is fighting for the women’s liberation cause (and still not collecting any Mother of the Year awards.) Luckily, there’s zero hint of any real danger; Enola thrives in an 1880s chocolate-box London.

The message to young audiences is that being alone doesn’t mean being lonely; you need to find your own path, and not be too influenced by others – especially by boys, however gorgeous Louis Partridge’s Tewksbury might be, blah blah blah.

Her critics have missed that Enola does have a lot to learn, and there’s scope for Sherlock to have a bigger mentor role in any sequels. He gets his own arc, which led to a lot of whooping on Twitter; in today’s parlance, the nineteenth century sleuth gets his privilege checked.

The film has flaws – it’s safe, lightweight, it’s clearly padded for time – but it’s entertaining enough. Brown gives an accomplished performance, showing she can carry on the Holmes legacy.

rum diary movie with drink

Amber Heard, her acting career and Johnny Depp

If you’re interested in the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard divorce saga, you’re probably pro-Johnny. According to predominant public opinion, he’s a Legend and she’s trying to smear his name and squeeze him for cash.

To put it mildly, Heard doesn’t seem to have much of a fan base prepared to come to her defence. So who is Amber Heard? Before she filed for divorce, I’d have thought:

  • she’s a mean Margot Robbie
  • she stars in dodgy Nicolas Cage movies
  • she’s married to an actor that isn’t Nic Cage, but is similarly weird and old enough to be her dad.

At the moment, she has a part to play in the expanding Warner Bros/DC cinematic universe. I say ‘at the moment’, because internet commentators are hoping she’ll lose her role as Mera in Justice League and Aquaman. (Something to do with accusing Depp of domestic violence.)

Amber got to know Johnny on the 2009 set of the film adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel The Rum Diary. She had reportedly beaten higher profile starlets like Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley for the tiny, purely decorative role of Depp’s love interest. She turned 23 during filming, Depp was 45. (Officially, they didn’t start dating until 2012, after Depp separated from his long-term partner Vanessa Paradis.)

The Rum Diary ranks as one of the biggest flops of Saint Depp’s career. (For a beloved icon, audiences aren’t interested when he isn’t doing silly walks and gimmicks.) I watched it a few days ago, and it’s actually an enjoyable movie with fantastic performances from Depp and Richard Jenkins.

People have always questioned Amber’s motives for marrying the multimillionaire superstar, but Rum Diary-era Depp still looked like the handsome Johnny of old.

Amber is very beautiful like Angelina Jolie or Marilyn Monroe, but cinema-goers haven’t been able to see any vulnerability or softness in her turns as yet another femme fatale, scream queen or hot chick.

She had a supporting role in The Danish Girl as a bohemian ballerina, where it was a genuine surprise to see her in genteel Oscar bait instead of genre fare. Amber seemed so grateful for the gig she got a bit overenthusiastic, but there was heart to the performance at least.

The clip below is of Amber as a younger version of Charlize Theron’s character in an upsetting scene from 2005’s North Country. She’s unrecognizable – more girl-next-door than the sex sirens she portrays now.

I really wanted to get a sense of Amber as an actress, which hasn’t been easy with her body of work. I expect she must be used to losing roles to Robbie, Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart.

Ultimately, if marrying Depp was a planned career move, it was a bad one, because having your tabloid persona overshadow your work is pretty fatal for an actress. Maybe after her divorce she’ll no longer be a big-ticket gossip draw.

I still maintain she’s rather hard on the eardrums, but it’ll certainly be interesting to see where she goes next…