Mr. Holmes follows a retired, 93 year old Sherlock Holmes in 1947. He lives in Sussex where he keeps bees. He has a housekeeper named Mrs. Munro who has a clever son Roger who looks up to Sherlock.
Sherlock has returned from a trip to Hiroshima where he’s found a prickly ash, a plant that is supposed to help memory. And Sherlock’s memory is failing. There are several scenes where he has to write someone’s name on his cuff so he’ll know what to call them. The reason he wants to help his memory, is that he saw a movie based on one of Watson’s stories of him, but Sherlock doesn’t remember the details. It was his last case, and the reason he retired, but he can’t remember why. He wants to get his memory working again so he can write down the real story, not Watson’s fiction.
With Roger’s prodding and perhaps some help from the prickly ash, Sherlock finally remembers the details. A man came to him wanting to find out where his wife went all the time. She had miscarried a couple of times and seemed rather depressed. Sherlock follows her, and sees her taking actions that would lead one to think she is going to kill her husband. But that isn’t the case. Sherlock talks to her about being alone, she makes a pass, he turns her down, and she kills herself. Sherlock is distraught at how he missed the obvious and retires. Watson makes something up so it sounds like a normal case.
There is more to the movie than that. There’s a story involving the guy Sherlock meets in Japan, a story about Roger and the bees, and tension with Mrs. Munro. But the main story is Sherlock trying to remember his last case and making peace with all he’s lost.
I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes. On my Oneoveralpha’s Writings blog, I’m planning on writing up reviews for all the stories. I’m writing a few of them up to give myself a good head start before starting to post them. But they should start next month. I also enjoy most of the TV and movie versions of the character. So seeing a character known for mental acuity having to write names on his cuff so he remembers, is rather tough.
An older Sherlock is something we don’t see that often, so it’s nice to see a movie with one. However, one of the draws of Sherlock is seeing him solve many intriguing cases. So Mr. Holmes is an interesting one-off, but I’d like to see a series with an aged Sherlock still working. It would be fun fan fiction to see a Sherlock in his eighties hunting Nazi spies. I’m sure something like that has been written, I may just have to look it up.