Last night I had the pleasure of going to one of the smallest local theatres in my city, and seeing the latest in the many film interpretations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Victorian sleuth, Mr. Holmes. It was a beautiful and quaint film, but more importantly it did what I have not seen any other version of Holmes do… move me to tears.
Now I am by no means a Holmes expert, (frankly I’m a college student raised on Harry Potter and Nintendo who plays at being an anime/film critic on his nights off), but with having read a decent chunk of the original short stories, kept up with the latest 2 major Sherlock adaptations (the BBC series and the Robert Downey Jr. movies) as well as a smattering of other adaptations, I must say this was such a refreshing melancholic, down to earth, eye wetting version of this immortal character,that even knowing the basic gist of the film going in, I still came out of the theatre more profoundly affected than I ever thought I would be.
Now all the other versions I’ve ever seen of Holmes, have all been either fun and adventurous, or otherwise more stoic eccentrics who thrive off the intellectual stimulus of their cases, with a flair for the theatrics. However this Holmes, portrayed wonderfully by Sir Ian McKellen, is a decidedly down to earth, venerable and more human portrayal than I’ve ever seen. Its heartbreaking to see the intelligent, logical Holmes comes to terms with his own frailty, mortality, guilt and human emotion.
And really thats what makes this movie work, because Mr. Holmes is not so much a mystery thriller as much a short mystery intertwined with the subtle drama of an old man coming to terms with his life, and his place in the world. This is not your Father’s Sherlock Holmes, this is not your Grandfather’s Sherlock Holmes, this is Sherlock Holmes as your Grandfather, and it is a truly beautiful thing to watch.
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