“Wicked Little Letters”


Metacritic (8/10), Letterboxd (4/5), Imdb.com (8/10), TMDB.com (8/10)

Just about everyone loves a good mystery, but, in the case of director Thea Sharrock’s latest, viewers are treated to one that’s both intriguing and utterly hilarious. Based on a true story, this delightfully offbeat offering tells the head-scratching tale of a small seaside community in 1920s England in which residents begin receiving anonymously sent letters filled with graphic profanity of a highly colorful and creative nature. The chief suspect is a recently arrived salty-tongued Irish immigrant (Jessie Buckley) who never hesitates to speak her mind or act out when she thinks it appropriate. The primary recipient is her neighbor, a cheery but conservative Christian woman (Olivia Colman), a prim and proper spinster who lives with her stern, judgmental father (Timothy Spall) and elderly, faint-of-heart mother (Gemma Jones). But is the accused really at fault? When a plucky, resourceful policewoman (Anjana Vasan) who’s supposed to stay out of the investigation gets involved, she uncovers evidence that circumstances may not be what they seem. The result is a sidesplitting thriller with loads of twists, turns and misdirections, a clever, original and outrageously waggish release that will tickle the funny bone of anyone who appreciates the wit and wisdom of good, old-fashioned, foul-mouthed cursing (sensitive viewers take note). The positively superb ensemble cast is outstanding across the board, particularly among the aforementioned principals, as well as a host of flamboyant supporting players. It’s obvious that everyone involved in this production had to have had fun making this film, and it shines through loud and clear in the finished product. There are a few sequences where the pacing drags slightly, but who cares? “Wicked Little Letters” is such a good time watch that you won’t really care. What’s perhaps most intriguing, though, is that this is a fact-based story – one that garnered national attention at the time – that had largely been lost to time but that, thankfully, has been brought back to life through this deliciously devious indie gem. Hell, yeah!