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Film Review – Wicked Little Letters, a scandal in 1920s England

Film Review – Wicked Little Letters, a scandal in 1920s England

From Me Before You, directed by Thea Shamrock, Wicked Little Letters takes its cues from a true story that rocked the singing West Sussex district of Littlehampton during the early 1920s. Dubbed the 'Seaside Mystery' by the Daily Mail, the scandal saw local residents subjected to months of poisoned mail.

While many in the city received offensive letters, the main recipient was Edith Swan, a devout and upstanding local citizen. The insults were rotten from the beginning but came to fruition with every new flap of the mailbox.

Being called a “cow” is one thing but being told “the cakes you make look like they fell out of a sheep's anus”…? Well, that's something else entirely.

Although this may have strangely horrified our Edwardian ancestors, there's little to hide the delight in an actor's eyes these days when he's allowed to run riot with the Urban Dictionary. Such is the case here with Olivia Colman, who plays Edith with all the relish of a star who has been duct-taping her mouth shut for years. Not since her channel 4 days ago.

Around her, one of Britain's acting talents is also making the most of the dirty day. Timothy Spall, Gemma Jones, Joanna Scanlan, Jason Watkins, Eileen – Olivier won three times – Atkins… they all love their clients.

Naturally, suspicion soon falls on Rose Gooding, the loud-mouthed local Irish speaker. She was played by Jessie Buckley. It's a case of bias over evidence, of course, but Rose only has WPC Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan) in her corner.

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While Agatha Christie's The Moving Finger seems like an obvious inspiration here, the mystery itself is not Marple. It doesn't take a seat in Poirot's chair to see Johnny Sweet's lightning-fast shenanigans.

However, there is enough effort put in by Shamrock Games Group to see you through to the end. Wicked Little Letters isn't the British comedy of the year that early trailers promised but you can't go too far wrong with Coleman and Buckley at the helm. Watch the sparks fly.