Tuesday, December 29, 2015

mr. holmes

a delightful film, mr. holmes gives another memorable look at the famed sherlock holmes character and movie series. this time, it is the great gandalf himself, ian mckellen, essaying both 60 year old and 93 year old detective holmes. sherlock returns from japan, where he searched for a rare plant that possesses potent restorative qualities. he has retired to the sussex seaside and spends his days nurturing the bees. he lives with his widowed housekeeper (played by laura linney) and her young son, roger (played by milo parker). detective holmes struggles with his aging mind and has now being haunted by the memories of the last case he handled, which he failed to solve. he tries to write what truly happened and through his newfound friendship with roger, he slowly uncovers the answers to this tale of whodunit, his last one.

mr. holmes was anchored on the great ian mckellen. even without the great aging ability of his makeup, he captured the physicality required to give life to mr. holmes in two different times on the character's life. sir ian was thoroughly engaging the whole time, giving us the cheekier side, the sharp detective trait and loving, longing and fragile aspect of mr. holmes. his mr. holmes is a great addition to the tale of the world's most famous detective in fictional history and should be rewarded with nods. laura linney is good as always but it would have been better if they cast british actresses such as emily watson or samantha morton. i just felt that she was too "warm" to be an uptight and supposedly sad housekeeper. milo parker on the other hand, was spot on as roger. 

at times, poignant but more often low key and unassuming, the movie was greatly helped by carter burwell's music. beautiful british seaside scenery was stunningly captured and through meticulous set and costume designs, had brought audiences back to 1947 and earlier. nothing fancy about the characters' lines and this made it even better, as i imagine a normal everyday conversation would go.

mr. holmes is sentimental but not sugar-popped. the film succeeded in blending sherlock holmes' mystery tale as we know it with a narrative of an aging man, whose mind power slowly degenerates. its ending showed that even in one's twilight years, it is never too late to make amends for missteps in the past and more importantly, forge new and meaningful relationships.

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