I enjoyed the film, “Mr. Holmes.” People who have little patience for Holmes stories not penned by Conan Doyle or not faithful to the Conan Doyle characterization of Holmes will not like the movie. The movie presents an older Holmes. One who has lived into the mid-twentieth century. It’s been 34 years since his last case, which he deduces or assumes means it did not end well. He’s not sure. He can’t remember. A brilliant detective with a failing memory, trying to recover it. Traveling to Japan’s post-bomb Hiroshima to find some herbal remedy because the Royal Jelly from his apiary doesn’t seem to be working. I was drawn in.
Seeing Holmes isolated and muddled is strange. Imagine an existence where you are every moment aware that your mental brilliance is dimming. Holmes tracks his memory losses by making dots in a datebook every time he forgets a name. One keeps hoping he’ll snap out of it. It is Sherlock Holmes, after all.
For me, nothing is more terrifying than imagining the modest amount of brainpower I have, diminishing. How would Conan Doyle’s Holmes have reacted? Mr. Holmes constantly informs people that John Watson’s account of their adventures are inaccurate, especial the deerstalker and Meerschaum pipe. In fact, Watson’s account of Holmes’s last case, has inspired Holmes to write the true story of that case. If he can only remember.
Since this isn’t really a movie review, I’ve left out the housekeeper and her son ( Laura Linney and Milo Parker) who play a part in Holmes’s life. And, the bees play a part as well. Holmes is played by Ian McKellen, a reason by itself to see the movie sometime.
When it comes to Sherlock Holmes, I am always willing to examine other portrayals: Sherlock (PBS), Sherlock Holmes movies, Titan Books series of the further adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and I’m about to read Dan Simmons new book in which Sherlock Holmes and Henry James join forces in America. I guess when it comes to Mr. Holmes, I’m always game