Review of 'Mr. Holmes'

MRHOTH-001_KeyArt_FM2.indd A retired Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) now lives in the countryside with his housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) and her son Roger (Milo Parker). Holmes is suffering from dementia, struggling to remember the details of the last case he worked on which he is attempting to put on paper even resorting to a trip to Japan in order to seek out a substance he believes will help him remember. Holmes teaches the eager Roger how to take care of the bee hives on the property much to the consternation of Mrs. Munro who wants nothing more than to take her son and move to a better job elsewhere. Recalling the details of the case, Holmes recalls Thomas Kelmot (Patrick Kennedy) approaching him to find out why his wife Ann (Hattie Morahan) has become so distant after suffering from two miscarriages. Holmes follows her around London engaged in activity suggesting she is about to murder her husband…Events in the past and present will come to a head and dramatically change Holme's life.

A master performance by one of my favourite actors, Ian McKellen, as he portrays both the rather unlikeable old Holmes and the vibrant, dynamic younger Holmes without Watson but still, seemingly, on the top of his game. McKellen dramatically portrays the pain and sorrow of the older man as he struggles to remember the details of events that have so irrevocably changed his life. McKellen's performance is ably supported by the distant and scornful Mrs Munro played by Laura Linney and the wonderful young Milo Parker who really captures the inquisitiveness of youth as Roger.

The story is quite simple though with a number of threads that all come together at the end. This film is more a character study of a master thinker who is slowly losing his mind…and knows it. Not a typical Sherlock Holmes film by any stretch. I did find even at just over an hour and half the film did seem to drag on a bit, but this is really to allow the film time to show a measured view of a once brilliant man losing his mind.

A powerful and moving drama of old age…and the loss of brilliance.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2022-01-08

Directed by: Bill Condon

Studio: Miramax

Year: 2015

Length: 104 minutes

Genre: Melodrama

Other reviewed films by Bill Condon: