#SheReviews Wicked Little Letters Film – Ruth Greening

March 19, 2024

I wasn’t sure what to expect when invited to the preview of the comedy mystery Wicked Little Letters and the outcome was a wonderful surprise. Everyone I spoke to after the film loved it. I could watch for a second time.  

Apart from being a little bit different which captured our attention throughout, we were also laughing out loud or cringing from some of the prejudices that come with small-town gossipers. There is a sad element to this story which is based on a stranger-than-fiction true story. 

Set in the 1920s in the English seaside town of Littlehampton, Sussex. The scenery is delightful as is the architecture. The costumes and interior designs are relevant to the era giving us an authentic stage.

We quickly became immersed in an absurd scandal based on wrong assumptions, lies, deceptions, and a strange bond formed among the local women. The film is inspired by the real-life scandal that rocked the sleepy little town. It made the newspapers and kept the villagers occupied. It is like a ‘who dunnit’ storyline without the murder.  Be Careful What You Post is the perfect tagline and we are not talking about social media. 

Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley are the stars of this film as they portray the complexities of an almost love, not-so-hate relationship between two neighbours. They show an empathy essential to their characters and make the movie. 

You may remember Jessie Buckley from Fargo, Chernobyl, The Last Post and more. Olivia Colman of course we all know from many of her brilliant characters in both films and TV series: Wonk, The Lost Daughter, The Iron Lady, The Crown, Broadchurch, Fleabag, The Night Manager,  and many many more. 

The Story

The storyline follows two neighbours. One is a deeply conservative sanctimonious local, Edith Swan (Olivia Colman) the other rowdy Irish migrant Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley). They became good friends but when fellow residents begin to receive short little wicked letters, full of unintentionally hilarious (which they truly were funny in the film) profanities, everyone suspects it is Rose due to her foul-mouthed upfront yet honest behaviours. 

Rose is arrested and typical of small-town attitudes everyone jumps to the wrong conclusion including the male police officers. Rose, also a mother, is subjected to bullying, pain and heartache including her daughter and her fiancé Bert.  

Fortunately, not everyone in the town believes Rose is capable of writing such letters as they know she is a decent person at heart, not capable of hurting others in this way. They suspect something is amiss and like true friends they decide to conduct their unofficial detective work behind the scenes. 

With the help of the local female police officer Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan), who also believed something didn’t seem right, unlike her male colleagues, she decided to join forces with a few local women and conduct their unofficial police work. Otherwise, Rose may have been unfairly convicted for an offence they believed she did not commit.

The local women take us on their investigatory journey. Accompanied by a few unusual turn of events pursuing justice, many of which caused the audience to laugh out loud, all is finally revealed.  

Cast and Crew

Director: Thea Sharrock

Produced by: Graham Broadbent; Peter Czernin; Ed Sinclair; Olivia Colman; Jo Wallett

Star Cast: Jessie Buckley (Rose Gooding), Olivia Colman (Edith Swan), Anjana Vasan (Gladys Moss), Hugh Skinner (Constable Papperwick), Timothe Spall (Edward Swan), Joanna Scanlan (Acteur), Gemma Jones, (Victoria Swan)

Cast: Alisha Weir, Lolly Adefope, Eileen Atkins, Jason Watkins, Malachi Kirby, Paul Chahidi, Richard Goulding

 In cinemas on March 21

#WickedLittleLetters @studiocanalaus @thinktankcommunications @shesocietyau #shereviews

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