In 1947 we find a 93 year old Sherlock Holmes living in Sussex caring for his bees. He’s just back from Japan and he has a few squabbles with his housekeeper. He also spends a bit of time with her son, caring for his bees and trying to recall the details of his last cast some thirty years in the past.
As Mr Holmes opens, easily the most shocking element comes during the opening credits, this is a Miramax film. I would have been no more surprised to see the RKO Radio Pictures logo roll across the screen. I feel much the same when I see the clunky ET Amblin logo on Spielberg’s TV Shows. A real blast from the past.
Mr Holmes is a great film. Solid acting on all fronts. Great costumes and sets. Lovely shots of The Seven Sisters cliffs of Sussex and an evocative scene near ground zero in Hiroshima. Based on the wonderful 2005 novel A Slight Trick of the Mind written by Mitch Cullin. It stars Sir Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes, Laura Linney as housekeeper Mrs. Munro and Milo Parker as her son Roger.
The only really odd bit has to do with a bit of jelly made from prickly ash, which Holmes believes will help with his memory. He uses it in place of his old miracle cure, Royal Jelly. This plant is his reason for traveling across the world. Odder still is that he chooses a plant growing in irradiated soil, which can’t be a good thing. Mr Holmes admits that neither cure seems to have helped much.
We follow three main stories and a few lessor ones. Holmes at home, Holmes in Japan, and Holmes at Baker Street. They are all related to Holmes trying to piece together that last case and figure out why has he exiled himself in the middle of nowhere. The story’s best element has to do with bees.
I saw this film at an early showing, as I usually do when I bother to go to a theater. The bulk of the audience was older. Many of them would easily have been Ian’s contemporaries in age. This is a bit of a shift from the normal crowds I see at movie houses, but then, Sherlock is a different kind of superhero.Mr Holmes is a film that deserves a wider audience. I highly recommend it.