Subscribe

'Mr. Holmes': Ian McKellan gives a marvelous performance as Sherlock

The intriguing premise of the movie, which centers on a 93-year-old Sherlock, outstrips its achievement, but McKellan makes it worth seeing.

  • close
    Ian McKellen in the film, 'Mr. Holmes.'
    Courtesy of Giles Keyte/Miramax and Roadside Attractions
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

The intriguing premise of “Mr. Holmes,” set mostly in 1947, outstrips its achievement, but it’s worth seeing anyway for its marvelous central performance. As the 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes, retired to Dover on the southeast coast of England, Ian McKellen (in his mid-70s) gives one of the most lived-in portrayals of old age I’ve ever seen in the movies. Actually, he also plays Holmes here as a 63-year-old, in flashbacks, and McKellan’s then-and-now contrasts, the way his language and his body language change, are hallmarks of the actor’s art. 

Holmes’s sidekick, Dr. Watson, has died,  and the great detective, who chafed at the mythology that had built up around him, is living out his days struggling to write about the circumstances of an unsolved case that sent him into retirement 30 years earlier. After an unsatisfactory trip to Japan to track down a medicinal herb he hopes will allay his dementia, he befriends (in his gruff way) the young son (the very good Milo Parker) of his gruffly dutiful housekeeper (a semi-wasted Laura Linney). “Exceptional children are often the product of unremarkable parents,” he intones. 

The script by Jeffrey Hatcher is overburdened with plot complications, but Bill Condon, who worked with McKellan on “Gods and Monsters,” has a real affinity for this actor’s capabilities. He brings out his best. Grade: B (Rated PG for thematic elements, some disturbing images, and incidental smoking.)

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK