A PG-rated movie intended for adults. How rare is that?
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most brilliant detectives in the world. Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he has solved countless mysteries with his partner Dr. John Watson. He has appeared in numerous volumes. He has played by hundreds of actors such as Buster Keaton, Jeremy Brett, Christopher Lee, Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and Jonny Lee Miller. Many wouldn’t argue that the best interpretation of Sherlock Holmes is Cumberbatch. But Ian McKellen in Mr. Holmes is at a close second. He gives the character like we never seen him before. Seeing this last night at the Eveningstar Cinema was such a treat!
The year is 1947. At age 93, Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen, in an Award-worthy performance) has been retired for 30 years. He returns to England after spending a holiday in Japan; haunted by the sight of Hiroshima after being devastated by a nuclear bomb that eventually ended World War II. Living under the roof with housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) and her 10-year-old son Roger (Milo Parker), Holmes works on solving one more mystery that led to his retirement while taking care of the bees every once in a while with Roger (have excellent chemistry). Flashbacks involves why a woman named Ann Kelmont (Hattie Morahan) who stopped playing the glass armonica and starts acting differently and Holmes’ time in Japan and how he retired.
Director Bill Condon (who is directing the upcoming live-action rendition of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, coming out in two years) gives Holmes such warmth and poignancy that it makes the audience feel welcome. In one scene, Holmes explains to Roger why he’s writing his own case. “I’ve decided to right the story down as it was,” he says, “Not as John made it. Get it right before I die.”
Because of this, he read his case and realizes that they are partly fictionalized. At a later scene, he sees a black-and-white Sherlock Holmes film at a local theater. He becomes flattered about the inaccuracies of the actual case. That’s why Holmes decides to accurately put the pieces of the puzzles together himself as he writes his final case. As his trademark eidetic memory slowly deteriorates, the audience still roots for him. Without spoiling anything, Mr. Holmes has a great mystery. For anyone who is going in expecting Holmes smoking a pipe, you’ll be fairly disappointed. This is a different take on the detective we know and love. One of 2015’s best films.