Mr. Holmes (2015)
Cast includes: Ian McKellen (The Hobbit, Gods and Monsters), Laura Linney (Mystic River), Milo Parker (Ghostbusters (2015)), Hattie Morahan (Bletchley Circle), Patrick Kennedy (War Horse), Roger Allam (The Queen), Phillip Davis (Vera Drake)
Director: Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, Dreamgirls)
Genre: Mystery | Drama (104 minutes)
The child in the shared train compartment watches the bee on the window. “You shouldn’t do that… tap on the glass.” “How did you know he was going to?” the mom asks, knowing her son loves bees. “It isn’t a bee. It’s a wasp… a different thing entirely.” The year is 1948 and even at his advanced years, Sherlock Holmes still notices all the clues. “Logic is rare.” He no longer lives in London. For the last 30 years, Hedley House has been his home, and today he returns from a long trip to Japan. He checks on his beehives first… a few corpses… a mystery that needs looking into. On the steps up to his study, there are telltale flecks of white… another mystery that may not be difficult to solve. Upstairs, he opens the Japanese box and takes out the precious cargo… a little tree. We also notice a handwritten manuscript and the photograph of a lovely lady.
“Why did you do it?” Holmes asks the housekeeper’s son, Roger, who snuck into Holmes’s study. “I didn’t know you wrote stories,” he replies. Young Roger likes the story so far… “Why did you stop?” Turns out that Roger is a rather clever fellow, and Holmes rather takes to him. Before long, he enlists Roger’s help with the bees. We can see that Holmes could use help, as signs of dementia are taking a toll. It’s hard to know if the Prickly Ash Holms brought back from Japan will be the magic cure some say it is. Holmes’s doctor wants him to keep a journal of how many times a day he struggles to remember a name. Roger wants Holmes to finish the story he started. Before long, Holmes and Roger develop a nice synergy. Holmes isn’t so much writing a story, as trying to remember it. Each day, he remembers and writes down the next little bit… as his memory is also visited by details of other mysteries and adventures. But the story he’s writing about Ann Kelmont is the one that keeps him going. He’s determined to correct the misconceptions from Dr. Watson’s version… to much creative license, it seems. Ann’s story was his last case… the one that caused him so much regret that he left Baker Street and became a recluse. But he needs “a sense of completion.”
Mrs. Monro would prefer that her son not get involved with the likes of Holmes, and she’s planning on finding them a new situation. “He’s the last resort for every lunatic out there,” she says as she throws his letters onto the fire. A quick look at Holmes’s journal reveals that the Prickly Ash isn’t working and completing Ann’s story is a race against time. Mr. Holmes is a delightful web of multiple mysteries, woven together beautifully by director Bill Condon, who is known for intelligent treasures. Ian McKellen is excellent as the doddering old man, who alternates between moments of insight and the Sherlock Holmes brand of antisocial anti-charm. I’m expecting to see a lot more of young Milo Parker, who plays Roger, the prodigy who could become the next Sherlock Holmes. “Exceptional children are often the product of unremarkable parents,” says Holmes. If you’re a fan of the BBC, you’ll see many of your favorite actors in this enjoyable tale. To the chagrin of Roger’s mother, she and her son have become an indispensible part of Holmes’s final chapter… “being alone together,” as Sherlock is fond of saying.
3 popped kernels
With the encouragement of the housekeeper’s clever young son, Sherlock Holmes can finally complete his last case
Gender Style: Neutral
Distribution: Art House
Tempo: Cruises Comfortably
Visual Style: High-End Production
Nutshell: Elderly Sherlock Holmes
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure Entertainment