I’ve always been a Sherlock Holmes fan. I’ve read the canon probably a dozen times (at least), and always check out movie/TV adaptations when they come out. While I liked Sherlock a whole lot (until the final season (I sure hope it’s the last!)) and am very much a fan of Elementary, this post is about the movie Mr. Holmes, which covers Sherlock’s final case and what triggered his retirement.
I was very impressed with Ian McKellen’s ability to be the sharp-minded detective as well as the dimming (but still with flashes of brilliance) old man who can’t take care of himself any longer. There were actually two mysteries, the one that ended his career (self-imposed, btw), and the one about his bees.
I was no less impressed with the young Milo Parker, who played the inquisitive boy that no doubt had Sherlock recollecting his own childhood. And Laura Linney really tugged at my heart strings (what does that even mean?) as she struggled as an illiterate single mother of a brilliant child while also caring for a cantankerous old man, who has flashes of brilliance and is, after all, her boss.
It’s a slow story, the kind that I like to write, with no car chases, no explosions, just a lot of brilliant acting and fascinating story lines (well, maybe mine aren’t fascinating). But slow doesn’t mean boring. I found it riveting and never once felt bored or had my attention wander. Cerebral, I guess, is a better description.
I love the idea of seeing Sherlock in his declining years. To see that not all his rough edges got worn off. That he can still describe your day in detail by looking at you. Yet to be infirm, to no longer trust his mental faculties. To remember when his brilliance was effortless, but to realize it only happens in increasingly rare brief flashes. Watson has passed on, as has Mycroft, and Sherlock is in his 90’s. His life revolves around his bees, as implied in the canon, and is in beautiful Sussex by the sea, so fits well within the stories as I’ve envisioned them.
Interestingly, I found myself less likely to drop into movie maker analytical mode as I watched. Perhaps because the bulk of the story took place in a small location. Or perhaps I was so sucked into the story I didn’t have the need. Or maybe I haven’t been doing it long enough that I can still enjoy movies like I used to.
You don’t need to know anything about the canon or even Sherlock in general to enjoy the movie, so don’t let that put you off. As a wonderful story brilliantly acted, it’s worth watching no matter what.