Wicked Little Letters

15 Blu-ray, DVD

We have a lot to be grateful to technology and the many advances it has brought us – for instance, how did we ever manage before doorbells with cameras? – but the ability to troll isn’t one of them.

Trolling is, of course, the ability it be deliberately offensive to others, via an online post, completely anonymously; this means that @SwiftyisaTwat can safely hide behind their keyboard and be as abusive as they want to be, to anyone on social media, without consequences.

This is by no means a new phenomenon, as this wonderful film illustrates, but at least you had to pay for the privilege by using a stamp.

boom reviews Wicked Little Letters
And you're supposed to be a fucking national treasure?!

In 1920’s Littlehampton, a quiet seaside town on the south coast of England, lived Edith Swan (Olivia Colman) with her father Edward (Timothy Spall) and mother Victoria (Gemma Jones). There’s is a God-fearing house, with Edith very much involved with the church and community, spreading the word of the almighty whenever she can.

A young Irish immigrant moves next door, Rose (Jessie Buckley), with her young daughter, and man friend Bill (Malachi Kirby). Rose is not shy with her use of language, which is often far more colourful than your standard rainbow.

One day Edith received a letter through the post, the likes of which she had never seen before; it is a vile piece of correspondence, littered with dazzling profanity, aimed at her personally. She is horrified. She is further so when she receives letter after letter of the most sordid and disgusting language.

She of course reports it to the police, who take it very seriously; due to the nature of her neighbour’s use of the English language, or abuse of it some might say, she is immediately made suspect number one. So much so that she is taken into custody and charged, without any real evidence, with a serious trial awaiting her.

A young female police constable however, Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasa) isn’t entirely convinced of Rose’s guilt, believing there may be more to this case than meets the eye.

boom reviews  Wicked Little Letters
oh my, I've never seen a pair with beards before?!

Believe it or not, this is an actual case that not only happened in the 1920’s, but had the nation gripped over it.

It may not be one of the first examples of trolling, but it’s certainly one with an incredible profile at the time.

It’s a film that brings national treasure Colman and phenomenal actress Buckley together, in what is a beautiful, albeit potty-mouthed union. Both are in excellent form, clearly embracing the bizarre material to its fullest.

British director Thea Sharrock, with a truly witty script written by comedian Johnny Sweet (Chickens), presents a riotously comic retelling of history in this wonderfully dark period comedy.

Not only does the director allow her two leads to shine, but she also includes a number of strong female roles too, giving it a pleasingly feminine edge. But if you ‘re going to have a few token roles for the gents, you can’t do much better than Timothy Spall.

The comedy isn’t exactly subtle, but when you consider the material, there’s no need for it to be, and let’s face it, there’s nothing wrong with broad comedy when it’s done so well. It’s also peppered with a whodunit theme, which keeps things interesting, even though the further into you get, the more obvious the culprit becomes.

The only negative side to the film generally however, is how little Littlehampton features in it – if at all – but being based there as we are, it’s probably for the best. Surrounding locales of Worthing and Arundel certainly do a swell job in substituting however. What it does prove however is how magical/deceiving the process of filmmaking can be.

You also can’t help but draw parallels to today’s society, with the ability to be obscene and abusive is so prevalent on social media, as not only this need for some to be responsible for such cowardly actions, but for it to be seemingly growing too. But as this sharply funny and entertaining film proves, it’s nothing new.

With such a terrific cast, focusing on an unbelievable historical case, leaves us to sum up Wicked Little Letters in two words – fucking brilliant.

we give this four out of five