Can Netflix Do A Good Historical Fiction Adaptation?
Enola Holmes 2 vs Persuasion
At the beginning of this month Netflix released the sequel to one of my favourite movies of 2020, Enola Holmes, cleverly titled Enola Holmes 2. And there seems to be a thing about the second movie in any series that just makes it the best one (I'm not sure what it is but if someone knows please share the secrets).
Now, if you are unfamiliar with Enola Holmes, allow me to catch you up: Enola Holmes was adapted from a book series by Nancy Springer, they follow the younger sister to the famous dectective Sherlock Holmes as she solves her own mysteries. The movies starring Millie Bobby Brown, as Enola, have wormed their way into the hearts of many, including myself, and I couldn't help but wonder, whilst I watched the sequel, how could Netflix release both this and the dumpster fire that was Persuasion (2022) in the same year?
Of course they are different in many ways. They have different writers, directors, cast, and although I called them both historical fiction adaptions in the title, technically Persuasion is just fiction... that is old. Also the two love interests in Enola Holmes are actually believably in love with each other. Imagine the main characters actually having chemistry with each other!
And I mean other than them both following an independent thinking, British, brunette woman, trying to navigate their way through the world after the loss of someone very dear to them, while dealing with difficult family memebers, in the 1800s... they really don't have that much in common. Oh wait- except for the breaking the fourth wall that both Anne Elliot and Enola do!
I talked about the breaking of the fourth wall in my Persuasion review because I thought that the way they used it showed a poor use of the film medium and greatly under estimated the intelligence of the intended audience (and also the talent of the actors). But I think it works in Enola Holmes, not only because she's young and fun, whereas Anne Elliot is old, heartbroken, grieving the loss of someone she truly loved (although the 2022 version makes her look like someone who would post a crying insta selfie captioned "living my best life"... also she looks like someone who knows what instagram is). But Enola is solving a mystery, it helps to know what she is thinking exactly (sometimes a challenge to show but not impossible), so that the audience understands how she is figuring things out as she goes along, and so they can maybe crack the case as well. Enola Holmes also has a younger (intended) demographic wathcing.
When I think about Enola Holmes, I think: fun, comfort movie that you turn on and watch over and over again because it's pretty soft. The movie is fun and it doesn't take itself too seriously, and I thought while comparing the two, that maybe that is one of Persuasions downfalls. It acts like a very serious movie, but any regency era set movie that is being dead serious shouldn't include the line "he's a ten, and I never trust a ten"... If Persuasion 2022 wanted to make the stroy more lighthearted, more of a comedy, then they should've just went all in for it, instead of cutting itself short and creating this pure cringe, where you genuinely can't tell when a moment is supposed to be awkward or just is.
In the end, I think the creators of "the-movie-that-shall-not-be-named" should take a page out of the Enola Holmes creators book (and actually read the book they adapt in the first place too! Just a thought). Maybe one day I'll be done talking about this movie, but until then the only thing I have left to say is:
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