Movie Review – Mr Holmes

Movie Review – Mr Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is going through quite a revival lately with TV shows like Sherlock and Elemental as well as the Robert Downey Junior movies. Most versions are putting a modern spin or 21st century perspectives on the stores with varying degrees of success so it is great to see a gentle Holmes story set in its rightful time and place with no modern appendages. This is a version Arthur Conan Doyle would certainly approve of.

This is a simply wonderful movie about the last days in the life of the great detective, as he struggles with the beginnings of Alzheimer’s by trying to remember why his last case went tragically wrong even after it was solved, and he comes to terms with a potentially fatal mystery surrounding his bees too. He has barely returned from a visit to Japan, but he can’t even recall the name of the man who invited him to go, so he fears for his chances of resolving the questions that still haunt him.

Holmes (Ian McKellan), is now 93, and in 1947, Watson, Mrs Hudson and Mycroft are already dead (seen only in fleeting flashbacks). He lives in a Sussex seaside village guesthouse with a woman and her fourteen year old son, who is in awe of Holmes, who teaches him about bee-keeping. The boy is brilliantly played by Milo Parker.

Holmes has vague memories of a case from fifty years before; and he is struggling to write his own account of it. He has been angered to find out how much Watson has distorted and exaggerated about him over the years. He also dislikes how he is portrayed in the movies of the 1940’s. We see him watching one which is a great parody of the Rathbone movies.

A beautiful sad gently paced and yet also uplifting movie.

Arthur Chappell

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