Wicked Little Letters – Review


‘Wicked Little Letters’ is directed by Thea Sharrock, who previously directed the film ‘Me Before You’, which I personally didn’t like for several reasons. But this film caught my attention for its excellent cast and the fact that it was based on a story that was largely lost to history- a story that if it was made in modern times was essentially about online trolling.

If you haven’t seen the trailers for it, this takes place after the First World War, in the small village of Little Hampton. Edith Swan (Olivia Coleman) begins to receive several obscene letters and immediately suspicion falls on her neighbour, Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley), due to a falling out that they had previously.

New police recruit Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan) believes that Rose has been wrongfully accused and sets out to do an investigation of her own.

The film starts out by saying it is truer than you would expect- and from what I gathered, based on some articles that I’ve checked out, it does seem that the film was very well researched, especially considering what I said before; that the story was largely lost to history. The home secretary at the time was even commenting on the story as it happened, and the national newspapers were documenting it, too! This leads to a funny joke in the film where the door gets slammed in the face of a Daily Mail reporter… I could watch that on a loop for a while!

If you have a problem with swearing, this isn’t the movie for you. The film has an R rating in America, and that’s pretty much entirely down to the language. I’ll stress that I thought this film was hilarious in several parts, and I thought that the central performances were all excellent, particularly Olivia Coleman and Jessie Buckley.

This is also potentially a breakout role for Anjana Vasan, who delivers a great performance mostly through her facial expressions! I’ve never seen an actor convey how much she wanted to smack her superior just through facial expressions before! I also thought Timothy Spall performed well in this movie, but then again, he is very good at playing despicable people. He’s in the role of Edith’s controlling father- and the oppression of women is very forefront of this film, even the Suffragette movement has a few background moments too.

Gladys is constantly having to follow the rules by having to introduce herself as a female police officer, in a very degrading fashion. Of course, as the film goes on, not only is Rose suspected because of her tendency to act out of turn and think for herself, but there are also other subtle jabs that you’ll notice. It’s an interesting thread for the film which I don’t think the trailers conveyed very well, but I also think that was to the film’s benefit.

The story obviously must follow a certain structure, and I would suspect that things have to be separated from fact, to follow a classic three-act structure, but this isn’t to the detriment of the story! It’s still rather engaging. I did, however, think that there were some portions of the film that felt padded, there were a couple of slightly unnecessary sequences. I wonder how much this will remain in the popular consciousness… One of the big issues I had with the film was that the foul language is one of the few jokes that it has and tends to rely on, it does get a little weaker towards the end since you’re so desensitised at that point.

I don’t wish to sound too negative because I actually really liked ‘Wicked Little Letters’. I wouldn’t say it was groundbreaking, but it was a well-acted and well-written movie. I don’t think it’s going to be massive, but I think it was worth the watch if you get a chance!
Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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