Movie Night – Wicked Little Letters

Directed: Thea Sharrock

Writer: Jonny Sweet

Starring: Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley

Trivia: Although the actual events occurred in Littlehampton, the filming did not take place there. Instead nearby Arundel and Worthing were used. Arundel was used for town and street events. All the seaside filming was carried out in Worthing.


In our household, the go-to choice for Movie Night is always a British comedy. Throw in a “based on a true story” plot, some historical drama, and the incredible Olivia Colman (who I’d watch read a telephone book if you can find one today), and we’ve got the perfect weekend movie.

I didn’t expect the sensory whirlwind that Wicked Little Letters delivered. It was uproarious and thought-provoking, leaving me laughing and pondering long after the credits rolled.

Are you tired of the same old stuffy British dramas? Wicked Little Letters is here to shake things up. It’s a movie that gleefully throws a bucket of vulgarity (in the best way possible) at the typical period piece, leaving you pleasantly surprised and excited for more.

Tired of the Same Old British Dramas?

Wicked Little Letters shakes things up. This movie gleefully tosses a bucket of refreshing vulgarity at the typical period piece, leaving you pleasantly surprised and eager for more. It’s not your grandma’s costume drama. Tackling societal expectations and female frustration with a generous dose of profanity and laugh-out-loud moments, it’s the perfect pick-me-up for anyone seeking both entertainment and depth.

A Riotous Mystery Comedy with Social Commentary

Set in the 1920s English seaside town of Littlehampton, Wicked Little Letters is a riotous mystery comedy with surprising social commentary.

The story unfolds when Edith Swan (Olivia Colman), a profoundly conservative spinster, receives a series of anonymous letters filled with hilarious profanities. These vulgar letters target Edith and spread through the town, causing an uproar.

Suspicion falls on Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley), a loud and opinionated Irish immigrant living next door to Edith. The uptight townspeople, including Edith’s domineering father, are quick to point fingers at the outsider. However, a group of women in the town, led by police officer Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan), suspect something is amiss. They take it upon themselves to investigate, and what they uncover is a whole lot more complex than anyone anticipated.

What Makes it So Refreshing?

  • Swearing Like a Sailor: Forget the prim and proper ladies you usually see in these films. Wicked Little Letters lets its women loose, peppering their conversations with some truly inspired insults (trust me, it’s hilarious). This unapologetic use of language flips the script on historical dramas, reminding us that strong emotions aren’t just for men. I can’t recall another movie where women were allowed to swear so much and in such a creative way.


  • Beyond the Bonnets: This movie isn’t afraid to delve into the frustrations faced by women in a bygone era. While the humour is front and centre, there’s a sharp social commentary underneath. It tackles issues of sexism and societal limitations on women in a way that feels relatable and relevant to audiences today. 

The beauty of Wicked Little Letters lies in its ability to make historical issues resonate with modern audiences. By challenging the way historical dramas portray women, the film sparks a conversation about how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go when it comes to gender equality. It reminds us that women’s struggles for autonomy and self-expression in the past are still relevant today.

In essence, Wicked Little Letters isn’t just a funny movie; it’s a reminder that historical dramas can be a platform for social commentary wrapped in entertainment. It paves the way for a new generation of historically accurate stories that are unafraid to challenge our preconceived notions of the past.

  • A Dynamic Duo: One of the key ingredients that makes Wicked Little Letters so refreshing is the phenomenal on-screen chemistry between Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley. Their performances as the film’s central characters, Edith Swan and Rose Gooding, are a masterclass in comedic timing, emotional depth, and the power of an unlikely friendship.

Colman’s Chameleon-Like Transformation:

  • Olivia Colman takes viewers on a journey as Edith Swan. Initially, she embodies the picture of a repressed, uptight Victorian woman. Her posture is rigid, her voice clipped, and her expressions convey a constant state of disapproval. Colman’s mastery lies in the subtle shifts she brings to the character as the story unfolds. As Edith delves deeper into the mystery of the letters, a spark of defiance ignites within her. Her comedic timing shines as she delivers deadpan reactions to the outrageous language in the letters and her repressed frustrations bubble to the surface in hilarious outbursts.

Buckley’s Infectious Energy:

  • Jessie Buckley is a force of nature as Rose Gooding. Her portrayal is a delightful blend of sass, humour, and vulnerability. Buckley’s Irish lilt adds a layer of charm to Rose’s blunt pronouncements and unapologetic attitude. She embodies the frustration of an outsider, a woman who doesn’t conform to the rigid social norms of the town. Yet, beneath the bravado lies a yearning for connection and a fierce loyalty to those she cares about. Buckley’s chemistry with Colman is undeniable. Their comedic exchanges highlight the film, with their contrasting styles creating a hilarious dynamic. As the story progresses, a genuine friendship blossoms between them, showcasing the power of finding connections in unexpected places.

Beyond the Comedy:

While the comedic performances are a significant draw of the film, both Colman and Buckley bring a depth of emotion to their characters. As the mystery unravels, they reveal layers of hidden pain and frustration. We see glimpses of Edith’s longing for a life less ordinary and Rose’s struggle to find acceptance in a prejudiced society. Their vulnerabilities create a deeper connection with the audience, making their comedic moments even more rewarding.

The success of Wicked Little Letters hinges on the dynamic duo of Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley. Their contrasting personalities, impeccable comedic timing, and underlying emotional depth create a truly memorable on-screen partnership. It’s a testament to their talent that they can make you laugh one minute and empathise with their characters the next.

Is it for Everyone?

If you’re easily offended by strong language, this might not be your cup of tea. But for those who appreciate a good dose of dark humour and a story that challenges the status quo, Wicked Little Letters is a must-watch. It’s a breath of fresh air in the period drama genre, proving that historical stories can be funny and fiercely feminist.

So grab your popcorn, settle in, and prepare to be delightfully surprised by Wicked Little Letters. You might find yourself cheering for these potty-mouthed ladies and their fight against societal expectations.


In the comment box below, let me know How do you feel about the use of strong language in period dramas? Does it add to the authenticity or detract from the story?

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