Film Review: “Mr. Holmes”

Starring: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hiroyuki Sanada
Directed by: Bill Condon


Mr. Holmes is a finely crafted, well acted drama based on Mitch Cullins novel, A Slight Trick of the Mind. Sherlock Holmes (McKellan) has left behind 221B Baker Street and both Dr. Watson and Mycroft live on only in memory. Now, in the winter of his life, Holmes spends his hours beekeeping, living in a cottage by the sea with his housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Linney), and her son Roger (Parker).

While Holmes tries to solve his last case, he ends up grappling with inner mysteries instead. Through flashbacks to Japan and London thirty years earlier, Holmes tries to piece it all together with the help of Roger, an enthusiast of Holmes’ detective stories with a fondness for deduction.

The weaving together of the film’s various narratives isn’t entirely seamless, and the result is both laboured and contrived in parts. The theme though that logic alone cannot illumine the mystery of existence is expressed brilliantly by McKellan, who captures both Holmes’ stoic temperament and the humanity which eludes him. McKellan is well supported by Linney and Roger who together, give the film its emotional heart.

While it may not be a classic Baker Street mystery, Mr. Holmes sees the master detective trying to tackle life’s greater question only to realize, not all things are elementary.


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