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  • Writer's pictureEugene

Wicked Little Letters (2023)

Wicked Little Letters is a 2023 film based on a real-life poison pen scandal in the 1920s that rocked the sleepy town of Littlehampton. This isn’t a million miles from Rusthall - well, it’s about 55, but who’s counting?  We were happy to welcome two new people to the discussion group and pleasingly it was their first time at RCC too.


The film has a great cast which includes Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley and Timothy Spall. The actors, we agreed, were all “brilliant.”  Any criticism we had was minor; Rose, the feisty Irish immigrant, would probably have lived in a more cramped home with a wider extended family at the time. There was an awareness of feminism and sexism in the script which reflected our values today, rather than those of the 1920s.


Our thoughts did turn to Edith, played by Olivia Colman and her bullying father (Timothy Spall). She was a victim of his powerful emotional abuse and was trapped in the household, the only child out of eleven to be at home. She was still treated like a child and controlled, so she had become stuck. This emphasis on obedience, we felt, led her to be jealous of the free-spirited Rose and to the Wicked Little Letters.


We liked the design, which felt very vintage, even if Rose would have looked more slovenly in real life. The police uniforms were admired. The integrated ‘colour-blind’ casting was not an issue for us. In fact, it made us reflect more deeply on the representation of Rose as an Irish outsider. 


We also commented on the representation of Christianity in the film; only Edith’s mother seems genuinely pious. One discussion group member was amused that Tim Key played the vicar and had previously appeared in one of our shorts as an Orthodox Jewish young man.


As with our best discussions, we reminisced on our past and how it connected with the film’s theme.  We talked about past attitudes towards unmarried couples and how things have changed. Now, 46% of children are born “out of wedlock”.  Swearing was more uncommon in the past and frowned upon in our families.  One of our group remembered the ‘f-word’ being referred to as “the lazy man’s adjective”.


How the world has ****ing changed.




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