Set in 1920, Wicked Little Letters brings to light the true story of Edith and Rose, neighbors who became friends and have a falling out.  After which letters filled with cursing begin arriving for Edith and then on to others with association to Edith and her family.  Edith and her family point the police to Rose as the one sending the letters and the search for the truth begins. Female Police Officer Gladys Moss knows something is not right, yet the men on the force will not listen to her.

In an interview with Mireia Mullo, Deputy Movies Editor, Thea Sharrock, director, admits she did not know this was based on a real story in her first reading.  As she learned more about where the story came from and the true story itself, her interest grew.  Jonny Sweet, the writer, was intrigued after learning about the case and reading some of the letters themselves.  He did include a lot of documented facts from the real case.  That is not to say that it is 100% accurate.  Timelines have been adjusted, characters combined, and the casting was based on talent as opposed to similarities of the real-life counterpart.  

The cast did an exceptional job of bringing life to the characters.  It is always a joy to see Olivia Colman on the screen.  As Edith, she is portraying a very pious woman with subtle hints of wondering what life could be like if she didn’t follow the rules of society.  While Rose Gooding was not Irish, allowing Jessie Buckley the freedom to be strong-spirited, no one could hold her back, transplanted Irish Lass gave the audience a character to get behind.  Rounding out the primary characters we have Anjana Vasan facing the struggle to be more in the male-dominated world of policing as woman Police Officer Gladys Moss.  The battle to hold her tongue on more than one occasion, which many women faced at the time, is evident.

This film has several layers that could lead to interesting conversations.  Not the least of which is the case itself and what happened in real life.  The judgments given to people upon their appearance and behavior, Edith must be innocent, she is well behaved, God-fearing, and fulfills her daughterly duty by taking care of her father.  Where Rose had a daughter out of wedlock and spoke her mind at every opportunity.  Did putting restrictions on women impact their mental health? And, anonymous is not anonymous, even with paper and pen it can still be tracked back to the author.  In this digital age, it is much easier to think you are not traceable, but that isn’t true.

The film is set in the past, it is not what I would call a serious historically accurate piece.  The language does range from ‘is that a swear word’ to ‘words that could make a sailor blush’.  They are just words and are not being yelled at the viewing audience, if that isn’t your thing pass on this one.  If you are looking for something different, enjoy a British twist, and can relax with liberties taken, go see Wicked Little Letters.  If you enjoy it, share the word.  If you do not, be careful what you say, it can be traced back to you.


Director: Thea Sharrock

Written By: Jonny Sweet

Cast: Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Timothy Spall, Anjana Vasan

MPAA Rating: Rated R due to brief nudity, fighting, language, and smoking.

Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama, History, Mystery

Selig Rating: 4.5 stars

Runtime: 1h 40m

Release Date: April 5, 2024

Trailer: Wicked Little Letters official trailer

Website: Wicked Little Letters official website


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.

4 Stars – Good movie/show

3 Stars – OK movie/show

2 Stars – Well there was nothing else…

1 Star – Total waste of time.

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