I recently went with friends to see the movie Mr. Holmes, and I would like to share some thoughts with you. Ian McCellen does a fine job portraying an aging Sherlock Holmes whose memory and health are failing quickly. He is retired and is spending his sunset years as a bee keeper. The movie begins with Holmes returning home from a trip to Japan where he was in search of a rare plant he believed to have miraculous healing powers. His travelling companions were his widowed housekeeper played by Laura Linney and her young son, Roger . Milo Parker, a precocious and talented young British actor takes on the role of Roger.
The ten year old idolizes Holmes. To him he is a role model, father figure and grandfather figure. Holmes becomes increasingly protective of the lad and increasingly dependent on him for help tending to the bees and also for his support and aid in helping him write his memoirs and recalling the unsolved case that led to his retirement. Their bond of friendship deepens and their mutual reliance on each other increases as the movie progresses.
There is aways the possibility that someone stung by a bee or other insect can suffer a severe allergic reaction. This happened to a character in the movie. This scene brought back terrible memories to me. Someone in my family was stung and quickly went into anaphylactic shock-a life threatening reaction to venom or other things such as peanuts. We assumed the three bites he received when he moved a chair on the porch and disturbed a nest belonged to bees. .. However at a later date the family member was tested by an allergist and the indication was he wasn’t allergic to bees but rather to wasps and yellow Jackets,. Sometimes our friends the bees get unfairly blamed for the stings of others.
Those who attended the film with me , shared my enthusiasm for the movie- that is except one friend who sat beside me and dozed blissfully through the flashbacks and the smooth shifting of scenes between the old man Holmes and the younger middle aged sleuth prior to his retirement.
I decided to ask a good friend – Hartley R. Nathan Q.C. his take on the movie. He found it to be a little slow and a little light. He is a Sherlockian. A Sherlockian is a fan of Sherlock Holmes who spends time pouring through author, Sir Conan Doyles fifty six stories and four novels about the adventures and exploits of the fictitious super sleuth. The great game is a convention played internationally. The players are enthusiastic and devote their time trying to clarify ambiguities in the lives of the detective and his friend and assistant, Dr. Watson, as depicted in the written works by Doyle. The premise is that Holmes is a real person. It’s all part of the game. The enthusiasts often belong to local societies which are part of a world wide internet. Nathan is a founding member of “The Bootmakers of Toronto” and also belongs to the ‘Sherlock Holmes Society of London’ and the ‘Baker Street Irregulars of New York.’ He is also co founder of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection of the Metro Toronto Reference Library. He recently co authored a book with Clifford S. Goldfarb, published by Mosaic Press: INVESTIGATING SHERLOCK HOLMES SOLVED AND UNSOLVED MYSTERIES. This book of essays offers new incite into the life of the great detective. It can be ordered at any Chapters or Indigo store.