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Movie Review: Mr Holmes

Abigail Benjamin

This August, please schedule a relaxing movie break for yourself to watch Mr. Holmes in between buying school pencils and harvesting some overabudence zuchinni  plants.  "Mr Holmes" is British Storytelling at its best. This movie is deep and layered and beautiful to watch. 

If you love the Sherlock Holmes books, you'll love this realistic depiction of Sherlock Holmes at age 93. Holmes starts a friendship with Rodger, the young son of his new housekeeper, which is subtle and realistic. Go see this film if you've ever had a fanastic relationships with a grandfather. Go see this movie if you love bees, or English gardens or fantastic twists of in a mystery plots.

"Mr. Holmes,"  is so beautifully told, that I'm hesitant to give much of the plot away. Holmes has retired from Dectective work and now struggles with age related dementia. Encouraged by the clever Rodger, Holmes attempts to write down the currect version of his last case, that he believes was inaccurately told thirty years ago by Watson. The movie is set in 1947, with frequent flashbacks to 1917, the year of his last Dectective Case. 

"Mr. Holmes" is a homage to the craft of writing. Holmes finds a cure to his depression and confusion, not from his morphine, his homemade Royal Jelly or an elusive homopathic cure from devestated post-WWII Japan. Instead, the interested questions of a young boy encourage Holmes to solve the mystery of his last case.  In this movie, it is the reader who saves the writer!

Please rush to see this limited release movie while it is still in theaters. The quality of acting and directing in this movie really deserve to be scene on a full screen and not on a TV or iPhone. The lush filmwork of English gardens alone is worth the price of a movie ticket. (I joked with my husband that watching this film had all the pleasures of gardening without the risk of sunburn or poison ivy rashes.) 

I hope this movie gives you an Oasis of peace in the middle of a hectic time of winding down the summer and preparing for the onslaught of Fall. I found in this film a new respect for life cycle of bees, for the importance of flower gardens, and the beauty of a life well lived in authentic connection with others. 


Know Before You Go: (A Breakdown of the Movie for Catholics)  This movie is rated PG. It has references to deep issues about the bombing of Hiroshima, the fraility of old age and a passing reference to morphine. The ending scene (which I don't want to give away) is quite dramatic. I wouldn't take any child under the age of 13 to see this movie without previewing it first. In the end, the kids will probably be bored by the slow pace of this movie. This is a "grown-up" film to enjoyed alone or with other adults.

A plot twist involves the Occult. I didn't find that objectionable in this movie because Holmes shows the true facts of the issue to be  logical instead of supernatural.  Instead of "contacting spirits" a grieving Mom appears to be simply remembering her deceased children in an empty garden. When Mr. Holmes offers to "read the palm" of a client's wife, she reveals his trick is to be a fake way to hide his deduction powers about her case.

In addition, this film deals with miscarriage and infertility. That might be a strong trigger for some Catholic women who struggle with grief over those issues. However, I thought this was a respectful portrayal of the intense loneliness of that specific cross.  A main character doesn't resolve this heartache in a "Catholic manner."  However, I thought the storyline about the hidden grief of mother whose "arms are empty" felt both respectful and sympathic.  I hope I get to watch the BBC make more movies that respect life from conception to natural death.