Wicked Little Letters

Wicked Little Letters
An entertaining and incredibly foul-mouthed dark comedy.

Wicked Little Letters

Release Date: April 5, 2024
Runtime: 01:40
When people in Littlehampton–including conservative local Edith–begin to receive letters full of hilarious profanities, rowdy Irish migrant Rose is charged with the crime. Suspecting that something is amiss, the town’s women investigate.

A seaside English town is thrown into chaos as neighbours feud over potty-mouthed letters in . Inspired by a true story from the 1920s, Edith Swan () is a deeply conservative woman living with her disapproving father Edward () and mother Victoria () in the seaside town of Littlehampton. Edith and others have been receiving extremely profane letters in the mail and the suspicion falls upon Edith's foul-mouthed neighbour Rose Gooding (), who recently migrated from Ireland and lives with her young daughter Nancy (), and new love Bill (). With her set to be put on trial for writing the letters, Police Officer Gladys Moss () begins to suspect that someone might be setting Rose up.

Wicked Little Letters Synopsis

Wicked Little Letters is a potty-mouthed dark comedy directed by Thea Sharrock and loosely based on a true story unearthed from the 1920s. The film stars Olivia Colman (The Favourite, Wonka) and Jessie Buckley (Men, Fingernails) as neighbours Edith Swan and Rose Gooding. While Edith is part of a deeply conservative household, Rose is a reckless and rowdy woman. Rose's penchant for dropping profanities makes her the prime suspect when Edith begins receiving extremely profane letters. With Rose in danger of being imprisoned, aspirational police officer Gladys Moss puts it upon herself to get to the bottom of these wicked little letters.

My Thoughts on Wicked Little Letters

Beginning with a title stating that the film is “more true than you'd think,” Wicked Little Letters was written by British comedian Jonny Sweet after he stumbled across the true story of warring neighbours and the series of foul-mouthed anonymous letters that rocked the UK in the 1920s. Indeed, the selling point of Wicked Little Letters comes from the fact that it is an incredibly foul-mouthed film. The film also uses its comedy to comment on how such language warranted legal prosecution in the conservative UK of the 1920s.

Wicked Little Letters is dependent on the chemistry between Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley, whose relationship with each other starts friendly, before escalating into a feud. In the middle is the always-great Timothy Spall (Spenser) as Edith's father Edward, who seems more insulted about the letters than Edith does. However, the scene-stealing performance belongs to Anjana Vasan as Gladys Moss, who fights back against the sexism of her fellow police officers to take it upon herself to find out who is truly behind the letters.

Despite being a story set in the 1920s, Wicked Little Letters is a film that would resonate with modern audiences. Part of this comes from the very colourful language of the letters, which could be viewed as the social media of the day. Altogether, Wicked Little Letters is an entertaining watch.

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Trailer for Wicked Little Letters

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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