Anika Goes to the Movies: Mr. Holmes

I know I have been absent and neglectful of this blog. I am sorry. I am not so faithful a blogger as I would like to be. But how about this, I tell you about my rather lovely date night movie and promise to catch you all up on my comings and goings for the summer in a series called, What I did instead of blog?” Sound good? Excellent, here we go, then!


What do you get when you put Laura Linney, Sir Ian McKellen, and an adorable new actor named Milo in a post WWII period piece about a retired Sherlock Holmes? BEST. STORYTELLING. EVER.

Okay, the Quick rating for Mr Holmes: 4.8/5.0 stars- Go see it! Now. No, seriously, stop reading this post and go watch Sir Ian doing Sherlock Holmes losing his memory. Then come back and we chat.

Mitch Cullin (the writer of the original novel, A Slight Trick of the Mind, which now I must read) and Jeffery Hatcher (the screen writer) have much to be proud of. This piece is the definitive proof that good storytelling does not need sex or graphic violence or foul language. Those are the crutches of the limping writer who does not know their characters or have the necessary drama in plot and character to carry a full novel. When the story is good, really good, all that other stuff would just get in the way.  This was lovely. I actually gasped twice (but then, I’m kind of a drama queen in the right circumstances, so take that as you will).

The acting is just, I mean, look at those names. It is a rare thing to see Laura Linney or Sir Ian botch something they are in, and they do not disappoint. The tension and the motivations and the give and take are just so great. And the kid, Milo Parker, he is darling. So stinking cute!! And he has some real skill. I hope he turns out to be one of those  child actors that takes it slow, keeps his head on his shoulders, and continues to turn out excellent work for years to come.

So spoilers, kinda. This is not the fast paced Holmes of the modern Cumberbatch and Downey Jr. persuasion. This is a methodical, well paced character piece. Don’t get me wrong, mystery and intrigue abound, and you do find yourself asking the right questions in all the right places, but this is not a fast paced adventure. So don’t go expecting one or you will be disappointed. This is about who Holmes is and what his life of crime solving and isolation have done to him in the twilight of his life. He is realizing that his legacy will mostly be remembered in the fictionalizations of Dr. Watson and grappling with the knowledge that he is losing his memory and that his retirement was more than a function of age, but the result of a massive miscalculation on his part. A forced exile of sorts.

If I had a gripe to make it would be that they didn’t take full advantage of the cinematographic opportunities of filming in East Sussex and Kent, so so lovely. And also the whole wasp v. bee thing is a bit heavy handed (granted this thing is rated PG so I suspect they are trying to target a younger audience, but still, kids aren’t dumb either). The role it plays later on is not a shock, the way it is revealed it shocking to be sure, but the idea was so heavily laid on throughout the film that there was hardly any guesswork involved. Maybe that was intentional so that the mystery didn’t overtake the personal drama. It was a choice, I could have done without it. Whatevs.

Anyway, this was wonderful, well worth the $20.00 for a night out with the hubby. And it prompted some conversations between us afterward that I enjoyed. We have decided that someone needs to write a story involving the flashbacks of an older man to his younger days in which Benedict Cumberbatch plays the younger Sir Ian. YOU GOT THAT HOLLYWOOD?! Let’s make this happen.

All right, well, I will see you soon with tales of the exploits that kept me from posting here, but frankly, my twitter feed was pretty good, so I don’t feel too bad.

See you soon,