When stodgy old characters announce that England’s glory is found in ancestral landowners, it’s clear the producers believe all those who defend the principles of the past are acting out of personal advantage rather than philosophical conviction.
The story doesn’t portray all those who disagree with progressive aims as evil, simply blind. In this we see the arrogance we’re all grappling with these days—assuming those who don’t see the world as we do must not see as clearly as we do.
Producers squarely targeted the film at girls the same age as my oldest daughter. So I asked myself whether I would let her view it, even though I take issue with the assumptions it makes of those who stand athwart history yelling, “Stop!”
I decided I will. And then we’ll talk about how the story portrays the various characters: Enola’s mother, the revolutionary. The Dowager Viscountess, the beneficiary of systemic privilege. And Sherlock, the entrenched member of the bourgeoisie, politically disengaged because he enjoys the status quo. We’ll talk about who each of these characters represents in our own society and how accurately the story represents their views.
Enola Holmes does a neat job capturing current ideological debates in a pretty package. Along with finding it genuinely entertaining, I believe parents of older children can use it as a launching point to start meaningful discussions, even if they’re not the discussions the filmmakers intended.