Lockdown and the spread of a worldwide pandemic make me feel alone, or at least rather lonely. From where I am sitting on a sofa with my best friend, observing the persistent British rain angrily throwing itself towards the rattling window, I am yet to figure out the difference between the two.
The pandemic and its restrictions make it so painfully obvious that humans crave company: diverse, varied, different company – and here we are, restricted from seeing all of our friends. Up until this year I was not even sure I had a problem with being alone, and now every unintended second of it makes me squirm. After all, the only things we have are each other, and if we’re isolated – well, then we are alone.
The film that we are watching from that old, rugged and surprisingly comfortable sofa is called Enola Holmes and is based on the novel with the same name by Nancy Springer. It seems to be a sort of costume drama and even though it has my interest I know these types of stories. Tragedy befalls the lady, she gets saved by a boy, and they live happily ever after.
The first impression of the film is simple; the brown eyes of Enola Holmes, played by Millie Bobby Brown look right into mine when she says: “The first thing you need to know is that my mother named me Enola. (…) Enola spelt backwards reads “alone.” She would continuously tell me: You’ll do very well on your own Enola. And yet we were always together.”
I am taken aback by the forwardness of the scene. Even if it is just some wordplay with the word alone, it speaks to something within me. A little part of me thinks that this is intriguing and relatable. Maybe Enola is not the typical damsel in distress as I first thought. Maybe Enola and I are alike, even though my name sounds more like a Russian officer when it is spelt backwards, and not a beautiful wordplay.
As scenes from the late 1800s play before my eyes one after the other with beautifully draped outfit changes, the story unfolds into something much bigger than just the stunning scenery of London in the 1800s. This film is very much like the books found in my bookshelf. Enola Holmes could be a title found between ‘How to Be a Feminist’ and ‘A Feminist Manifesto in 15 Suggestions’. Enola’s mother is leaving her to fight for women’s rights, or as she says herself in a heartfelt moment with her daughter: “I left for you because I couldn’t bear to have this world be your future.”
When the credits start to roll I am left with Enola’s last words: “Being alone doesn’t have to mean that I have to be lonely.” It makes me realise that maybe Enola and I are the same. We might be alone, but we have to realise that it doesn’t mean we are lonely. If we hold out a little bit longer the future will be brighter.