“Mr. Holmes” may have left the local theater, but he will live on in the hearts of those who saw this film. We know Sherlock Holmes stories enough to know he is one who values reason, logic and true facts above all else. In this film, emotion, compassion and companionable friends find their place in his life, as well.
Ian McKellan expertly plays a 93-year-old Holmes (as well as a 63 year old Holmes). Laura Linney so inhabits the character and Irish accent of his housekeeper, Mrs. Munro, that we don’t recognize the actress in her first scenes. The brilliant young son, Roger Munro, played by Milo Parker, warms his every scene and gives life and motivation to Holmes’ story.
Movie poster for ‘Mr. Holmes’. Courtesy/Reel Deal Theater
The year is 1947. Holmes has retired to his country manor with a study full of his books, artifacts and chemistry equipment. He struggles with memory issues but, still, nothing gets past his notice. Mrs. Munro cares for his house, his health and his meals, thereby providing a home for her inquisitive son. A typical kid, Roger sneaks into the study while Holmes was away visiting post-war Japan; on the desk, Roger found and read a story Sherlock had been trying to write.
The case Sherlock is trying to put down on paper is the one that caused him to retire. He knows the case ended very differently than is portrayed in Watson’s book version or the film based on it. But he can’t quite remember it all. Is he losing his famous memory or is there another reason he’s repressed the details? In the meantime, Holmes teaches Roger about bee keeping and the boy takes to it as well as each successive chapter of the story Holmes is pulling from the distant past.
There is fabulous acting here, potentially Oscar-worthy for both McKellan and Linney. But more than that, there is heart as well as superior intellect… well worth your consideration as a movie worth the price of admission.
The film is rated PG “for thematic elements, some disturbing images and incidental smoking”. Despite one of the main characters being about 11 years old, young kids may miss the storyline due to the accents of the characters and the flashbacks inserted here and there. Not surprisingly, this is a psychological drama rather than an action adventure film. But do see it, if only for classic Ian McKellan and a new type of role for Laura Linney.