Mr Holmes - Review

Well I'm admittedly a little behind everyone else but here's my review of Mr Holmes.

Well, what do we all know? The film is based on the book A Slight Trick of the Mind and deals with an ageing Holmes who is battling with the early stages of dementia and trying to recall the details of the case that forced him into retirement.

We also have been told that there are two stories in the film. The first involves a trip by Holmes to Japan in search a plant of to arrest his mental deterioration and the second concerns the aforementioned final case. From his Sussex home, Holmes is aided in his efforts by his housekeeper and her young son.

A common complaint in other reviews is the absence of Dr Watson. This is true but I'm not sure it damages the film. Yes we are used to Watson as the narrator and the eyes through which we see the action. Those familiar with the original stories will be well aware that the stories not narrated by Watson were definitely poorer and it is therefore tempting to assume the worst for any story that deviates from the standard format. However, given that this is about Holmes telling a story in his own words for his own peace of mind, I feel that Watson (who apparently changed the account for publication) would be a barrier to that aim. His absence, although unusual, is, I feel, necessary in this case.

Let's look at the principal casting.

Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes - Well it's perfect casting and makes you wish he'd played the younger Holmes in his youth. He does a perfect job of showing Holmes' pain as he sees his famous intellect slip away.

Laura Linney as Mrs Munro - Holmes' housekeeper seems to have the attitude of knowing her place whilst being frustrated by it at the same time. Her son is her world and she grows increasingly jealous of his affection for Holmes.

Milo Parker as Roger - A fine performance as the boy determined to do all he can to arrest Holmes' decline and help him deal with not only his bees but his personal demons too.

All in all this is a good film. I didn't expect it to finish when it did and was slightly disappointed with the ending. That aside it's a worthy addition to the ranks of Holmes films. Go see it.

Written by Alistair Duncan
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  1. Finally started watching my DVD of Mr Holmes, but opted out as soon as the Japanese flashbacks began, because it made me physically uncomfortable to see him that old and feeble. I don't know why, but I don't want to think of him that way.

  2. Thank you for the encouragement. I've read the book and if the movie doesn't deviate from the book ending.... :-(((

    Perhaps I'll try again when I'm feeling mentally stronger.