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Performer of The Month - Staff Choice Most Outstanding Performer of September - Millie Bobby Brown

This article was written by Alison D, Donna Cromeans, Ellys Cartin, Karenna, and Naomi Anna. The article was edited by Donna Cromeans (DJRiter). The open and close of the article were written by Donna Cromeans. Prepared for publishing by Aimee Hicks.

One of the most crucial aspects of any production, be it a film, play or television is the casting. Casting directors work diligently to match the right performer with the right role. Occasionally they strike gold finding the perfect performer. It’s also magic when a talented performer finds the perfect role. Most actors are lucky if they find that once in their careers. Then there are those performers that are so gifted the perfect parts find them. Such is the case with Millie Bobby Brown. What’s so remarkable about this actresses’ critical success is that lightning has struck twice in her incredibly young career. She burst onto television screens and earned a Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Emmy nomination at the age of 13 for her work creating the intriguing character of Eleven in Stranger Things. Now she has followed that by creating yet another iconic character by playing the lead role in Netflix’s Enola Holmes. Bringing her unique skills and talents to a delightful story about Sherlock Holmes’ little known younger sister, Brown has once again earned her critical acclaim. For her exceptional performance Millie Bobby Brown was selected SpoilerTV’s September Staff Choice Performer of the Month.

Continue reading below to find out our thoughts regarding her performance. After reading, please leave your own thoughts in the comments.



In major films and TV shows, a character of Enola’s age is usually played by people in their 20s or are given immature, precocious qualities. How did Millie Bobby Brown show that having an actor play their own age was an advantage to the production?

Alison: The uncertainty and feigned arrogance of adolescence come through in Brown’s performance, no doubt because she can easily call upon emotions so familiar to an actor her age. At 16, Brown exists where Enola exists. They share a headspace. She easily moves from spine of steel to little girl lost to small child playing dress-up. The performance is always believable because for every moment where she is besting an older opponent there is a moment where she is the girl with scraped knees sitting small by the fire contemplating her future. Brown uses her expressive face to make sure the viewer knows exactly how she’s feeling in every moment. Consider Enola’s initial reaction to and interactions with Tewkesbury (Lewis Partridge). It is hysterical and familiar. She is offended by his very presence but also a bit intrigued against her will. Adolescent antagonism with a side of attraction at its best because of Brown’s indignant delivery of every line or the slight raise of her eyebrow to express discontent. It was wonderful.

Donna: Quite often I think casting directors underestimate the abilities of younger actors, but performers like Brown are quickly making them rethink casting older actors for younger roles. She brings just the right amount of maturity needed for the character while holding onto and letting her youthful innocence and naiveté shine. In this case, it was the perfect balance and exactly what was needed to bring Enola Holmes to life. She didn’t have to pretend anything with her reactions to certain situations because that was exactly how a sixteen-year-old girl would react.

Ellys: At a certain point this year and perhaps even earlier, I found myself doubting the magic of television and movies. There were good shows. There were good performances. Occasionally, there were sparks of genius, but there wasn’t anything so completely extraordinary that I could absolutely disappear into enjoying. Enola Holmes didn’t exceed my expectations because I didn’t have any; I had lost hope that a movie or TV show could impact me in that electrifying way the best cinema has in the past. I also thought I had become too cynical to be moved by the optimistic pluck of a young adult on the trail of a mystery. When adapted for the screen, works like Enola Holmes often modernize themselves awkwardly with leading performances that are mentally jarring due to the mismatch of actor and material. Enola Holmes avoids this fate thanks to Brown’s magnificent and authentic inhabitation of her character; there is no sense at all of Brown having to distort her own gifts to fit the character. She can be a whole person as Enola, filling her character with heart and courage and wisdom befitting who Enola was raised to be and who she chooses to become. Even more importantly, Brown is able to convey accurately the complexity of thought which young people are indeed capable of, although literature and media written for older children and young adults by “grownups” often oversimplifies the inner voices and emotional maturity with which young people are equipped. In a way, Brown gives young people back power in a media culture that too often reduces them to simply confused individuals with too many feelings.

Karenna: To be honest, I understand why many productions opt for older stars to play tween and teen parts. Oftentimes, the perception in Hollywood is that young actors and actresses haven’t developed the nuance that a starring role demands, especially one so diverse in range as Enola. However, If the multiple Emmy nominations weren’t enough to convince you, Brown’s role as Enola firmly proves that she has the base understanding of and ability to produce a likable and believable protagonist. In this way, I believe that Brown is a large part of proving that many young adult actors can be consistently capable of complex performances.

Naomi: Brown being cast as Enola Holmes was extremely refreshing and worked perfectly. She was mature when she needed to be, but I think her youth was a definite plus.



Enola Holmes broke the fourth wall by having Enola speak directly to the camera. Was Brown the right performer to cast to connect with the audience in that way? What was it about that aspect of her performance that you enjoyed and why?

Alison: Beginning the movie by breaking the fourth wall was an excellent choice and aided by the camera angles. Brown peered through the screen and the closeness let it seem like she’d stepped into our world or that we could step into hers. However, the real reason it worked was Brown’s conversational delivery. The way she breaks the fourth wall feels less like a gimmick and more the start of a great friendship. She delightfully plays into the camera, using expressions and micro expressions to keep us informed as well as let us know we too are in the thick of the adventure.

Donna: Brown brought just the right amount of sass and cheekiness each time she addressed the camera as though she was letting a trusted friend in on her deepest secrets. Her earnestness and that direct communication with the audience is a major factor in what helped endear Enola to everyone watching. Browns immense on-camera appeal drew us into her story with ease and took us along for the ride on her grand adventure.

Ellys: Is anything more potentially lethal to a show than poorly executed narration? Nothing squashes momentum and viewer engagement the way too much voiceover does. When not handled carefully, narration insults the audience’s intelligence or overemphasizes details that are already laid out elsewhere in the story. Breaking the fourth wall is even riskier, as this means of communication is often associated with comedy, particularly the mockumentary format. To not be awkward or tedious, the speaker must have flawless delivery and timing. Enola Holmes dares to break the fourth wall and use narration. Brown accomplishes both tasks in such a superb fashion that it’s practically a miracle, a feat of artistic engineering that deserves all the praise. How easily it could have gone wrong! It does not go wrong, however; the absolute skill with which Brown uses these tools to punctuate, accessorize, and deepen her performance makes it impossible to not connect with the story and her heroine. The range of fourth-wall breaking moments is another testament to the caliber of her craft. One moment she’s drawing the audience into a quick, wonderful laugh with her commentary; in the next, she’s somberly inviting us to witness Enola torn between two paths with equal chances of heartbreak. Every instance she breaks the wall is done out of appreciation for Enola’s development and for the audience’s engagement.

Karenna: Between this film and Fleabag, director Harry Bradbeer certainly knows how to set up a fourth wall break in a way that is charming, and not cliche. However, no matter the director, the brunt of that charm still lies on the delivery of the performer to hit the exact right notes at the exact right times. Personally, I found Brown’s performance in this area to be totally matched and possibly even superior to Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller Bridge. Every time Brown smirked, winked, rolled her eyes, or monologued to the camera, it felt as if the audience was being let in on a little secret. It was extraordinarily effective to set the tone of a given scene, and it simply endeared me to Enola even more.

Naomi: Brown was absolutely endearing as Enola Holmes. Her infectious smile and deadpan humor worked well with the fourth wall breaks. It also helped keep the story going for the audience; it felt like we were her partners and were finding out the secrets right along with her.



Enola Holmes’s on-screen family carries quite an acting pedigree with Sam Claflin, Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham Carter. How does Brown fare inmatching her acting skills in scenes with each?With whom did Brown share her strongest moments? Does she live up to the on-screen Holmes family pedigree?

Alison: Brown was seamless. It was an outstanding cast. Her scenes with Cavill were my favorite. His performance of Sherlock Holmes was surprisingly tender and humanized. The affection in Enola and Sherlock’s interactions was always apparent even when they appear on opposite sides of the issue. Their conversation at the tree was a lovely moment for a movie that aimed for adventure. The longing and loneliness of two lost characters was well played by both actors. They made the audience ache and unlocked so much of their respective characters. It was also fantastic to see the way that small conversation found a way into future moments.

Donna: This was indeed a stellar, quality cast and Brown fit in with the rest seamlessly. I think the beauty of this production is that everyone understood and performed as part of an ensemble. Yet, the more seasoned performers also knew this was intended as a showcase for Brown, so they knew when to take a selfless step back and let the young actress shine. This was her film from beginning to end. She mastered working with each of the pros easily, but I was particularly impressed with her work with Helena Bonham Carter as her mother, Eudoria.

Ellys: Enola Holmes brings together a roster of impressive talent, and not a single person phones it in. The only reason each perfect performance doesn’t cancel the others out is that the film is exquisitely crafted, a marvel of directing and editing. I was especially moved by the rare portrayal of siblings with a large age gap between them and how we see Sherlock (Cavill) and Enola wrestle with what it means to choose family when they are relative strangers to each other. The fond pride brother and sister have for each other forms a decided contrast to Mycroft (Claflin)’s surface-level discomfort at not being able to relate to either of his siblings. This movie gives us a nuanced exploration of how even static rifts among family can be powerful forces for harm and reconciliation. Brown’s performance, in particular, reflects her complete confidence and appreciation of who Enola is, which results in her every scene with a costar being one of equal or greater footing. She is the leading lady of the film, and there is never any moment where that isn’t true.

Karenna: Frankly, I forgot some of those other actors were even in this movie. Despite being one of the comparatively less recognizable faces among her high-caliber co-stars, this was by all means, Brown’s film. She plays perfectly off of each of the other Holmes family members - from her warmness toward Cavill’s Sherlock, to her idealization of Carter’s Eudoria, to her total defiance of Claflin’s Mycroft, Brown seemingly adjusts her performance to work best with each scene partner, a skill many actors twice her age can’t even accomplish.

Naomi: I loved Brown with each of the other actors. She had the strongest on-screen moments with Carter in my opinion. They had great chemistry together and made their bond seem very real. Their scene at the end was heartbreaking, but truly done in a way that seems to be very Holmes-like. Practical and decisive, but we know there is deep, genuine love between mother and daughter.



Enola Holmes was portrayed as a very confident, determined yet somewhat sheltered young woman out on her own for the first time in London. How does Brown bring Enola's unique qualities to life capturing Enola’s first venture out into the world and how does she make the audience believe in her character?

Alison: Brown makes great choices when it comes to embodying Enola. There is such confidence in her deliberate stride, even once she arrives in London. She takes up space everywhere she goes, but she also is so unguarded which reveals a young woman naive about the potential dangers of the city. Brown walks through the docks with her arms swinging, an easy carefree stance despite the mounting tension in the scene. The contrast plays well. I also must go back to how effective she is in breaking the fourth wall and bringing the viewer along for the adventure. Despite the frequent use of the technique, it never grows stale. Brown’s expressive face, especially those eyes, let us know when Enola doubts herself, realizes she has miscalculated, or feels betrayed by her mother or enamored by the Marquess.

Donna: I think if anything Enola was more prepared for the outer world than anyone thought, Brown brought an earnestness and wonder to the new things Enola encountered. There wasn’t a single false note in her portrayal of someone her age. I found it refreshing too that by portraying her having a somewhat more Bohemian upbringing than most young ladies her age she did not act as entitled or afraid of challenge as many young ladies of that time might have. Again, Brown’s earnestness and mastery at portraying a young woman on the edge between adolescence and adulthood came naturally because in a very real sense that is exactly what she is.

Ellys: This film breaks away from the usual portrayal of someone with a non-traditional upbringing, focusing on how Enola’s life prior to the present day empowered her to be able to move productively through a world not set up to aid her success. Brown also avoids typical characteristics assigned to a young person in Enola’s situation. She is not brash and confrontational in her attitude; she doesn’t introduce awkwardness when Enola encounters a stranger of her own age. Instead of being flippant or hesitant, she gives Enola a refreshing awareness of her own value as a person, a detective, a woman, a daughter, a protector, and a sister. The writing also lends credibility to Enola’s identity, as we see her adeptly navigate within her world rather than unrealistically existing outside of it.

Karenna: Brown was shockingly good at portraying Enola’s naivete without making her seem bratty or ignorant. Protagonists in children’s (and even young adult) movies are hard to nail on the head, simply because they need to be both an accurate surrogate for the intended audience, without being too unbearably optimistic or pessimistic; not too childish or too mature. By leaning heavily into both the highly practical and easygoing sides of Enola, Brown was able to locate that sweet spot between being inexplicably perfect and unbearably naive.

Naomi: The fourth wall breaks helped me to feel I was on the journey with Enola. Brown’s ability to be funny, witty, and vulnerable all at the same time made me feel very protective of her and deeply invested in her adventure. Watching her turn into a budding detective while also falling in love for the first time was magical.



Millie Bobbie Brown’s performance in Enola Holmes is unique in that it is rare for a performer as young as she carry the bulk of the film on her shoulders. What made it a leading performance, one that obviously designed to kick off a series of films?

Alison: Playing the titular role meant the success and future of Enola Holmes was solely on Brown. She commanded every scene even when sharing space with an impressive roster of established actors. Through her performance, she made sure the emotional thread of a daughter searching for her mother, her person, was never lost. Making sure the audience invested in Enola, the character, was what allowed us to invest in Enola Holmes, the movie. It was Brown’s performance that had us rooting for Enola and hoping Netflix does right by the potential franchise.

Donna: The film makes it clear from the beginning the focus is on Enola. By breaking the fourth wall and having the character speak directly to the audience to share many of her secrets, she instantly endeared herself to viewers and made her someone with whom we’d all want to spend time. Making that happen rested squarely on Brown’s characterization and she nailed it. Her charm, pluck, and self-assurance quickly made Enola someone we would all like to know better. It was clear from those moments that Brown was thoroughly enjoying playing the part.

Ellys: The film never takes its eyes of Enola; even when she’s briefly offscreen, her actions and discoveries are still driving the story. Brown carries herself with the assurance, the decisiveness that we recognize in lead protagonists. Enola’s decisions always circle back to her independent decisions about who she is going to be, and Brown’s performance makes it feel natural that Enola exists as she does and thinks as she does. Enola’s journey is always true to who she recognizes herself to be; Brown is a tornado of charisma and skill as she draws us into her character’s adventures.

Karenna: As anyone who has seen Stranger Things knows, Brown knows how to command a scene. She has an on-screen presence that many young performers lack, and an ability to win over an audience that rivals that of much more experienced actors. Many young lead actors carry their roles based on one thing; be it snark, sass, “cuteness” or a memorable catchphrase, but Brown has now proven twice that she can wear many different hats (in the case of Enola, who was constantly in and out of disguise, I suppose quite literally).

Naomi: Sherlock Holmes is a giant of a character- Mycroft Holmes is as well. I think that the male actors made very conscious decisions not to make their characters the center of attention. By giving good but lowkey performances, Brown was able to break through and create the Holmes that everyone wants to know now. She was smart, endearing and whip-smart, which is everything you’d expect from a Holmes.



Which was Millie Bobby Brown’s most stellar moment as Enola Holmes? Was it who she was in the scene with or something special she brought to the scene?

Alison: There were so many praiseworthy moments in Brown’s performance, perhaps all the moments were worthy, but she truly captivated me from her first moment on screen. Her performance was infectious. Certainly, breaking the fourth wall was part of the vision for the movie, but without her conversational delivery and eager, easy, and excited expressions, I don’t know that it would have served as well as it did. And it may be cliché to say, but her eyes were so alive.

Donna: Brown commanded from Enola Holmes’ opening moments. I thoroughly enjoyed the rapport she had with Cavill’s Sherlock and found all their scenes charming as you watched the two match wits with one another. Her scenes with Carter as mother and daughter were also beautifully crafted and performed. Then there were the scenes where she was on her own in the boarding house where she displayed a maturity beyond her years, but also never let us forget she was still a young girl out on her own in the world. It was in those scenes she showed us Enola’s heart, her loyalty, her bravery, but also her spirit and vulnerability.

Ellys: This is perhaps one of only a few wholly perfect performances I have gotten to watch in my life so far. For the sake of brevity, the scene after Enola escapes Linthorn by creating an explosion is a standout in my mind. In this scene, Enola speaks directly to the audience, explaining how she’s at a crossroads between what she feels she must do and what her mother would have her do. The serious nature of the scene, with Enola at both her strongest and most vulnerable, is not only deftly translated by Brown but also balanced with some quiet yet brilliant humorous touches in her line delivery.

Karenna: The scene where Enola sits by the fire and explains why she wants to help Tewkesbury is glorious storytelling through acting. The story of the sheep on the cliff seemed pointless to me at first, but Brown’s delivery - with profound sobriety and honesty - peeled back a layer to reveal a key piece of Enola’s character. The entire film, her motivation has been solving the clues and finding her mother, but this speech is the major turning point in the film where we recognize that Enola’s real drive comes from the desire to protect. This scene is, in my opinion, the most important of the film, and it’s Brown’s performance that made it that way.

Naomi: I loved her fight scenes so much. Brown made Enola Holmes look like a true brawler.



What are your final thoughts on her winning this recognition?

Alison: It’s a well-deserved win. I wasn’t familiar with Brown outside of Stranger Things, and I was worried all I’d see was El, but now all I want is more Enola. Brown is no doubt talented, anyone who has seen Stranger Things knows that, but she also possesses an ease and a timelessness. She’s just incredibly engaging as Enola Holmes— playful, powerful, and so charming.

Donna: In the first of what I hope are several Enola Holmes films, Millie Bobby Brown shows us she’s only scratched the surface of her talent and this intriguing character. Her effortless yet charming performance made this a truly deserving win. I sincerely hope we get to see more of Brown embodying Enola for a long time to come.

Ellys: I would like many more Enola Holmes films, and I think Millie Bobby Brown should get to play this character for as long as she would like to. She has created someone extraordinary and wonderful; Enola Holmes is a once-in-a-generation icon in the making.

Karenna: I have my own personal list of actors that I believe will become the “Clooneys” and “Meryls” of the next few decades. Brown has long been on that list, but this particular role has sent her straight to the top of it. We all have known and loved her as Eleven, but given the right role, any actor can put in a memorable performance. It’s this role - completely unlike Eleven in every way, and yet handled just as impressively - that convinces me that the excellence of both Eleven and Enola as characters aren’t examples of the “right role” so much as the “right actress.”

Naomi: I loved this movie so much. Brown introduced us to the youngest Holmes in a wonderful way. We got to see Enola use all the skills and natural sleuthing abilities she had to save the day. And we also got the beginnings of a young epic love between Holmes and Tewksbury. I can’t wait to see what new adventures the film series has in store for Enola courtesy of the talented Ms. Brown.



Millie Bobby Brown continues to impress with each role she takes. In Enola Holmes, she manages to capture that wonderful balance of her character as a young woman on the verge of womanhood but still maintains her grasp of youthful whimsy. Not only does Brown play Enola Holmes perfectly she also serves as one of the film’s producers, proving she is as equally bright and savvy as the character she is playing. For her engaging and entertaining performance in Enola Holmes Millie Bobby Brown was selected SpoilerTV’s September Staff Choice Performer of the Month.

Please use the comments to discuss all your favorite parts of Millie Bobby Brown’s performance in Enola Holmes.

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