[Courtesy of Studio Canal]

Movie Review: Wicked Little Letters

07:00 April 08, 2024
By: Fritz Esker

Wicked Little Letters (2023)

An Irish woman (Jessie Buckley) in small-town England shortly after World War I is accused of writing obscene poison pen letters to the community in the new comedy Wicked Little Letters.

Edith (Olivia Colman) is a prim, devoutly Christian spinster living with her even more devout parents (Timothy Spall and Gemma Jones). She is the chief target of the poison pen letters (think the old-time equivalent of today's internet trolls). The crime is punishable by prison time, and authorities soon come to believe that the foul-mouthed, confrontational Rose (Buckley) is behind them. The town's first female constable (Anjana Vasan) investigates.

Wicked Little Letters, directed by Thea Sharrock, is one of those movies that is by no means bad but also never quite takes off, either. There's a lot of potential for comedy and social commentary in the plot (it's based on a true story). While periodically amusing, it's never hilarious. The scenes involving the female constable's treatment on the job by her colleagues are the weakest and most strained in their attempts at humor. Another problem is the film never quite decides whose story it's telling. Rose seems like the main character but then disappears for long stretches. On the plus side, Buckley and Colman are both good in the lead roles.

Even if Wicked Little Letters never fully succeeds, there's a dearth of comedies in the theatrical landscape so it's nice to see filmmakers are still willing to try them.

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