Wicked Little Letters – a delectable treat: movie review

By Alexandra Heilbron on April 4, 2024 | 1 Comment

Wicked Little Letters starring Olivia Colman and Jessie BuckleyWicked Little Letters is set in a small town in the 1920s, where women are expected to kowtow to men. Raised by a weak mother (Gemma Jones) and a bully of a father (Timothy Spall) who wouldn’t allow her to spread her wings and leave the nest years earlier when she was engaged, spinster Edith Swan (Olivia Colman) is a middle-aged woman who still cowers when her father raises his voice. He’s not only verbally abusive, but hurls objects at her when he’s enraged.

Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley), a young Irish woman with a preteen daughter, moves in next door. She’s irreverent, full of life and swears like a sailor. Edith enjoys her company and the two become friends, but her father Edward manages to put a stop to that in quick order.

And so begins a story that’s a mystery. Who is sending poison pen letters to Edith that are full of curses, calling her names that Edith can’t even read aloud? The letters enrage her father, and make her mother weep.

Edward goes to the police of the small seaside town to file a complaint. He’s positive the letters were written by Rose, even though Edith doesn’t want to press charges. The police station is run mostly by men, but they have one woman on the force, who must be addressed as “Woman Police Officer Gladys Moss.” Gladys (Anjana Vasan) goes along with the title without thinking too much about it, until Rose, who has been brought to the station, points out how ridiculous it is, saying anyone can see she’s a woman.

The Chief Constable won’t allow Gladys to do any serious police work. He expects her to remain at the intake desk and make tea for the male officers.

When Rose is brought in, she’s irate, and doesn’t exactly endear herself to the police officers, including Gladys. Even so, Gladys comes to doubt that the letters were written by the Irish woman. Some of the women in town have empathy for Rose, especially when she’s separated from her young daughter and sent to prison to await trial, because she couldn’t afford bail.

Edith glories in the newfound fame and sympathy that she gets as the victim of the vile letters. As soon as the women get together to pay off Rose’s bail and she’s released from prison to await trial, the letters start up again. Only this time, they’re directed at numerous people throughout the town.

The story is brilliant and wickedly funny, with stellar performances from the entire cast, especially Olivia Colman as a meek woman who’s unhappy with her life, and Jessie Buckley as Edith’s polar opposite – a lively and hilarious single mother who doesn’t knuckle under for anyone — especially the townsmen who think they know best. Anjana Vasan also stands out in her role as the frustrated police officer who reaches the boiling point when she believes she’s close to solving the case, only to be suspended.

The humor, drama, mystery and cast combine to make this movie a delectable treat from start to finish. You’ll leave the theater wanting to see more from this assortment of eccentric characters. ~Alexandra Heilbron

5 out of 5 stars.

If you have seen Wicked Little Letters and would like to rate/review it yourself, click here.

Comments & Discussion

  1. Gwen Collins • April 4, 2024 @ 4:07 PM

    This looks to be an interesting show. Can’t wait to see it.

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