Wicked Little Letters – Crude True Crime Mystery with a lot of Laughs

Wicked Little Letters Review

True crime mysteries are always interesting, but add a hundred-year-old mystery filled with scandal – it might just end up being one of your favorite movies of the year. Wicked Little Letters takes audiences back to the English countryside right after World War I. The town of Littlehampton is plagued with crude and insulting letters, and there can only be one person responsible – Rose (Jessie Buckley), the foul-mouthed single mother who moved there from Ireland.

The first several letters only seem to be delivered to Edith (Olivia Coleman), who after having a falling out with her neighbor Rose suspects she may be the culprit. But as the fingers begin to point at Rose, the letters start going to more residents in the town. It is relatively easy to guess who the letter writer is early in the film, but the bigger question is – how does anyone have that much time to write that many letters?

Both Buckley and Coleman stand their ground and play their roles fantastically. From a cold and submissive spinster, who seems to revel in the media attention she’s getting (even if it’s not flattering), Coleman takes the role of Edith head-on. And Buckley, while foul-mouthed and a bit boisterous, plays the loving mother who is willing to sacrifice whatever she has to prove her innocence and protect her daughter. It’s a nice juxtaposition between the actors and the characters that help hold the story together.

The movie does offer a look into the life at the time, if we put aside the crude letters and the quick accusations in the movie there is another lesson that seems to be buried deep within – the inequity for women even after the First World War. The movie hits on Edith (Coleman) being a spinster tied to her parent’s home. Of Rose’s past life and how it’s colored everyone’s opinion of her and possibly her daughter. Gladys’ job description is clearly “Woman Police Officer”, whose duties are the same as the men’s, but added with some more domestic in the office all while restricting her private life (something her male colleagues don’t have to deal with). And even the other women in town who worked in the factories during the war, are now disregarded and tossed back into the domestic realms. It seems that no matter who the letter writer is, the women in town have battles on many fronts, and that’s before they start turning on each other.

While Wicked Little Letters is full of laughs, it does seem to leave you with a bit of a sad feeling at the end. When the culprit is revealed, you realize it was the only outlet they could justify for the time. And that no matter what the cost, and who it hurt, it wouldn’t stop the letters. Which, is not only a dark twist but also one that makes you wonder how far they would be willing to take it.

Wicked Little Letters won’t be for everyone – that’s easy to see just from the trailer. If you do not like swearing and small bits of nudity, this isn’t the movie for you. But if cursing and lude language isn’t something that upsets you – the movie is a lot of fun. If anything, the movie may add a few colorful new insults to your repertoire as you laugh through the movie.

Wicked Little Letters is in theaters this weekend.

Overall Rating

Four and a half Star Review

About Wicked Little Letters

Wicked Little Letters Review
Wicked Little Letters Review

A 1920’s seaside town bears witness to a farcical and occasionally sinister scandal in this riotous mystery comedy. Based on a stranger than fiction true story, WICKED LITTLE LETTERS follows two neighbors: deeply conservative local Edith Swan (Olivia Colman) and rowdy Irish migrant Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley). When Edith and fellow residents begin to receive wicked letters full of unintentionally hilarious profanities, foul-mouthed Rose is charged with the crime. The anonymous letters prompt a national uproar, and a trial ensues. However, as the town’s women-led by Police Office Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan) – begin to investigate the crime themselves, they suspect that something is amiss, and Rose may not be the culprit after all.

Starring Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Anjana Vasan
Directed by Thea Sharrock



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