Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Mr. Holmes Review
In thinking about a comparison Mr. Holmes, the movie that immediately came to mind was Steven Spielberg's Hook. Very different movies of course, but both take a beloved character that is always seen as younger and look at him from an older age. Peter Pan is always seen as a young kid in Neverland. But what if he left Neverland and grew up? What would that be like? Sherlock Holmes isn't in a place where the actual rules of the land are such that one doesn't grow up, but he is such a classic character that for over 100 years he has stayed a as a middle-aged man, so he's pretty much in the same shoes as Peter Pan. As a general rule I think that we don't want our heroes to get old. We want them to stay around for the unforeseeable future. But what happens if our heroes do grow old? What will life be like for them? That's the issue that this movie discusses. Sherlock Holmes is 93 years old. It's been over 30 years since he's taken up a case and done his usual detective work. He's instead chosen to be a beekeeper at a remote farmhouse. Living at the same place as him is his housekeeper, Mrs. Munro, and her young son Roger. Mrs. Munro isn't a fan of Sherlock, but Roger adores him and because of Roger, Sherlock starts trying to remember the accurate details of his final case, specifically why that caused him to retire. When Watson wrote the story, he dramatized it to make it a happy story, but Sherlock is pretty sure it wasn't happy, but he can't remember why.
Ian McKellen is at his absolute best in this movie. A lot of people in history have had the pleasure of portraying the character of Sherlock and a lot of them have done a dang good job at it. But out of all the people who have portrayed this character, Ian McKellen actually gives one of the more convincing performances. If I were to rank all of the Sherlocks in terms of my personal favorites, Ian McKellen is now towards the top of that list, if not at the very top. Think of all the attributes that makes Sherlock great and now try to envision Sherlock as a 93-year-old man. That's exactly what Ian McKellen gives us with this performance. It's also a very emotional movie. There were several points that will bring you to tears, both sad tears and happy tears. I'm not going to give specifics as to why, but you really feel for this man. It's heartbreaking to watch him go through all that he does, especially with how attached I personally am to the character of Sherlock. It feels like a final send-off to one of the best characters in history. It's not, of course, because we have plenty more Sherlock coming in the future with season 4 of BBC's Sherlock being one example. But if this were a send-off, I would be pleased. Ian McKellen has received some early Oscar-buzz, which means very little at this point, but I would be happy to see him get this. Not only because the man has never won an Oscar, but also because his performance in this is very deserving of at least a nomination.
In the end, if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes in whatever form, this is a movie that you absolutely need to find and see. No, it's not full of action and super intense drama like in previous versions of Sherlock, but the approach in this is just perfect. It's a great character piece that dives into one of the most classic characters in history. I'm going to look back at this movie as one of the best Sherlock Holmes movies ever made and I'm going to see Sir Ian McKellen as one of the best Sherlocks in history. So yes, if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, find this and see it. But even if you aren't the biggest Sherlock Holmes fan, this is still a movie that I would recommend you seeing because of the brilliant story and inspiring themes throughout. I actually watched this movie with my parents and the three of us spent quite a bit of time afterwards discussing all the themes of the movie and I love it when a movie does that. This is yet another excellent movie in a year that has provided us with quite the collection of cinematic gold. Creating my list of favorite movies from this year is going to be a very hard one when January rolls around, so I make no guarantees, but at this point I really have a hard time seeing me leave this one out. My grade for Mr. Holmes is a 9.5/10.