Mr. Holmes – Film Review by Guttman

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Mr. Holmes: the year is 1947 and Sherlock is retired. In this very enjoyable film, view Sherlock is 93 and living in an unspecified location on the English coast. Ian McKellen (who is 76) gives a superb performance as a Sherlock whose memories are fading. Dr. Watson and Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, are deceased. Sherlock has been retired for 30 years. He has a housekeeper, Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) and her young son Roger (Milo Parker). Mrs. Munro is protective and provincial, but not so the son. Roger has read the stories of Sherlock Holmes, as penned by Dr. Watson.
Much of this 104 minute movie deals with Sherlock slowly remembering what had occurred 30 years ago. One case involved a married woman (Hattie Morhan) whose husband saw her as overly brooding about her two miscarriages. I don’t want to say much more. There is a flashback sequence involving Holmes traveling to Japan shortly after WWII to meet with an herbalist (Hiroyuki Sanada) who lives near Hiroshima. Holmes makes the long trip because he believes the herbalist may have discovered a plant that will stop memory loss. Fundamentally, the story deals with aging and longevity, and one’s unwillingness to admit to and accept its consequences. It is the growing relationship between Roger the young boy and Sherlock, that imbues the film its special flair. The movie, based on a novel by Mitch Cullin, is directed by Bill Condon. On the 70th anniversary of the devastation of Hiroshima, there is a touching scene where Holmes watches a group of Hiroshima survivors create a ring of stones that serve as a place to recall loved ones. The film ends with Holmes creating his own ring of stones.

Steven Guttman

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