I wasn’t especially interested in seeing this movie but several of my friends really liked it, so I decided to see it. The film is 104 minutes long and although the first 90 moved at an excruciatingly slow pace, the last half hour was excellent, so on-the-whole the film is a good one.
The film takes place in 1947. Sherlock (Ian McKellen) is now 93 and has mild-moderate dementia. He knows his time is near. He retired in the late 20’s, apparently so distraught about a case that he chose to retire. Sherlock doesn’t remember the case well anymore, especially what went wrong. He is desperately trying to remember it, so he can make peace with himself before he no longer has the intellectual capacity of doing so or dies.
Sherlock is the closest human to Mr. Spock we have on Earth. (Perhaps Spock was even based on this character.) He is devoted to reason and logic and has no use for emotions. He lives alone in a cottage in rural Southern England, where he tends to his bee colony. He became estranged from Watson before his death and his housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) isn’t fond of him either. Sherlock, however, is taken with her very intelligent and inquisitive son Roger (Milo Parker). Sherlock teaches Milo how to attend to the bees, (which symbolize the sweetness and pain of life).
This film is about Sherlock’s and Milo’s mutual attachment to each other, Sherlock coping with his declining faculties and impending death, and how they work together to solve the mystery of what went wrong in Sherlock’s final case.
The film really picks up in the last half hour and has a profound message about attachment, loss, and the importance of feelings.
The acting is first rate, although I wish the first part of the film was shorter. It will work fine as a rental, so unless you are a big McKellen fan, I would wait until it’s out on DVD.