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Movie Review – Wicked Little Letters

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About a month ago my wife and I went to see, I think, The Beekeeper as a mystery screening. While we were waiting for it to start we saw a trailer for an upcoming British comedy called Wicked Little Letters. Now I know that trailers are designed to make you want to hand over your cash and come and see the film but this one really hit the spot. We both giggled like school kids all the way through it and decided to keep an eye out for it when it was released on 23rd February.

For reasons I have no idea about, there was an early screening last night (Monday 19th) so we arranged a date night and went off to see it. And we had a great night! Wicked Little Letters was a fun film with lots of laughs all the way through. It is funny in a peculiarly British way. You need to remember that we are a nation brought up on naughty jokes, innuendo, and the frequent use of double entendre when we’re trying to be not so obvious. It’s hard but we manage to keep it up somehow. 

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The Language You Just Used

Wicked Little Letters is based on a real story. Back in the 1920’s, in the seaside town of Littlehampton, a series of letters started arriving on the doorsteps of the genteel, refined gentlewomen of the town. One particularly school ma’am-ish type was Edith Swan and she was singled out for the majority of the letters. Indeed, Wicked Little Letters starts with the arrival of the nineteenth letter sent to Edith (Olivia Colman). Sitting around the table are Edith, her father Edward (Timothy Spall), and her mother Victoria (Gemma Jones).

Edward reads out the letter, actually spits might be more accurate as he is apoplectic, Victoria is distressed to the point of hysteria, and Edith seems bewildered. They are all convinced that the sender of the letters is their next door neighbour Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley). This is because Rose is a bit of a wild, free spirit. She loves life and spends as little time as possible being miserable, the complete antithesis of the Swans. In post WWI England, Rose was held to be guilty because she was accused by a man and was known to be a bit sweary. 

Indoors…On A Wednesday…

Back then those two factors were enough to get Rose put away to await trial. Swearing was becoming more commonplace as soldiers re-established themselves in society but was only even marginally acceptable when used by men and to men. It was a time when women were, very definitely, second class citizens. If an upright citizen in possession of the appropriately shaped trouser trappings made an accusation against a woman then that was, pretty much, it. If a woman denied or refuted the accusation then that was seen as proof that the woman was mad or a liar.

All that makes Wicked Little Letters sound like a very grim affair and, frankly, it could have been if the cast hadn’t really leant into the comedy. Timothy Spall is always good value and really is magnificent as the bigoted, traditional father. Anjana Vasan is delightful as Woman Police Officer Gladys Moss; if eye rolling were an Olympic event we’d have a guaranteed gold! Throw in excellent support from Joanna Scanlan, Eileen Atkins, Malachi Kirby, Lolly Adefope, Paul Chahidi, and Alisha Weir and you have an excellent way to spend an hour and a half. Sweary? Yes. Funny? Yes. Entertaining? Definitely!

Movie Grade: A+

No, there is nothing extra during or after the end credits of Wicked Little Letters.

Trailer – Censored

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Trailer – Uncensored

About The Peetimes: This was great fun! It might not be to everyone’s taste but it fitted right in with the British, naughty sea-side postcard sense of humour. I managed to find some quieter moments for Peetimes.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Wicked Little Letters.

Rated: (N/A) NA
Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Olivia Colman, Alisha Weir
Director: Thea Sharrock
Writer(s): Jonny Sweet
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom, France

When people in Littlehampton—including conservative local Edith—begin to receive letters full of hilarious profanities, rowdy Irish migrant Rose is charged with the crime. Suspecting that something is amiss, the town’s women inv…

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