I went along to the Watershed this afternoon to see Bill Condon’s new film “Mr Holmes” - with Ian McKellen playing the lead role. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting much – perhaps a “warm” film (I think I’d seen it described as such in a couple of newspaper reviews?) and with McKellen providing a decent performance as an ageing Sherlock Holmes.Actually, I was very pleasantly surprised.
Yes, it WAS a “warm” film and, yes, McKellen was impressive (I thought he was wonderful!)… but it was much more than that. It’s based on Mitch Cullin’s novel “A Slight Trick of the Mind” and flits between 1947 (with Holmes aged 93) and a case from many years before (which still torments Holmes and was instrumental in him giving up detective work and retiring to Dorset).
This is yet another film (and I’ve seen quite a few in recently and read a fair number of books too) about growing old and confronting one’s own mortality. With Holmes struggling with powers of recollection, this a gentle film about ageing and vulnerability… but also, crucially, empathy.
A rather lovely film and a simply brilliant performance by Ian McKellen.