Mr Holmes

Ian McKellen; top bloke. Sherlock Holmes; legend. Ian McKellen AS Sherlock Holmes; a match made in cinematic heaven, right?
Mr Holmes (directed by Bill Condon) is inoffensive and cheesy in the best possible way. It's an early twentieth century depiction of the infamous detective as a pensioner riddled with bad health and a guilty conscience, not the modern Elementary style Holmes that's an eccentric lunatic. He is, of course, still inept with regards to understanding human emotion and empathy, but his age and physical state has rendered him more considerate and friendly, particularly with his housekeeper's son, Roger.

Mr Holmes is still in touch with the fundamentals of a Sherlock Holmes story, but it's refreshing and different because it shows Holmes as a voluntary recluse; he's chosen a life of exile, tending to his bees his only hobby, because he's distraught and slightly bitter about an unsolved case from more than thirty years ago. This is unlike Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes, for example, for whom the possibility of dropping a case and failing never comes into consideration. This introduces a human side to the character, because, as he himself says, he can't solve everything and he's not so superior he's immune to real world problems such as arthritis.

The film is rated PG because of it's "infrequent upsetting scenes", and this is almost single-handedly because McKellen does such a marvelous job of playing a character struggling with memory and mobility, a character who is universally recognized for their sharp wit and unfathomable ability to 'know' everything from one glance at a person or situation.

It's not a perfect film by any means; Laura Linney's accent is more Devonshite than Devonshire and it sometimes becomes difficult to distinguish a flashback to 1919 from the present in 1947. The costumes and sets, however, are expertly handled (even Holme's liver-spotted head is convincing) and the acting, as a whole, is impressive. 
A light-hearted Sunday morning film to watch with the elders of the family.

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