Nobody does comedy like the Brits and Wicked Little Letters is British comedy at its very best. 

Set in 1920s England, a small Sussex village grapples with a shifting post-war world, an energised Suffrage movement and a scandalous and foul-mouthed mystery.

Olivia Colman and Jesse Buckley lead a star-studded cast of beloved British comics as they tell a "story that is more true than you'd think".

The film is based on a true story which tantalised the nation at the time but has largely since been lost to history. 

Watch the Wicked Little Letters trailer

What is Wicked Little Letters about?

Edith Swan (Colman) prides herself as a godly woman, an upstanding example to the community in her seaside Sussex town of Littlehampton.

Colman, who still lives with her elderly parents (Timothy Spall and Gemma Jones), befriends her new, fiery and free-spirited neighbour, Rose Gooding (Buckley)

The unlikely friendship between the two women quickly turns sour as Edith begins receiving a series of anonymous sweary and truly unhinged letters.

Edith accuses her new outspoken neighbour of sending her the letters, reporting her to a sexist and barely competent local police force. 

The combination of the shocking language and the mystery of the anonymous author means matters quickly escalate to trial and even make national newspaper headlines.

Is Wicked Little Letters based on a true story?

Yes, obscene letters did begin to arrive on the doorsteps of a sleepy Sussex seaside town in the 1920s.

A devoutly religious 'spinster' - among others - did receive anonymous notes riddled with creative and shocking insults.

A spirited Irish woman called Rose Gooding who lived in the town was accused of sending them.

Just like in the film, the local story captured the attention of the national media.

For instance, the Daily Mail newspaper dubbed it ‘the Seaside Mystery'.

In real life,  the real culprit was caught after a year of Rose being sentenced to hard labour.

Without giving too much away, the anonymous author was caught in a trap set by detectives - just like in the film.

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Wicked Little Letters review

Wicked Little Letters is charming, sharp, outrageous and definitely worth a watch.

The film positions itself as a comedy - and it is very funny - but it does more than that.

Arguably, most of the best jokes and one-liners are in the trailer so you won't find the series of comical expletives all that shocking or even memorable.

However, the beauty of this quintessential but sweary British comedy is that it doesn't shy away from the societal commentary or human drama it needs to ground it.

The trailer teased me in with the promise of acting heavyweights Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley going head-to-head in a delightful swearing match on a sleepy English village street.

But, I walked away from the cinema with my heartstrings tugged by Buckley's portrayal of Rose as a protective and loving mother and the depth and the complexity that Colman brings to Edith's character.

All in all, Wicked Little Letters was signed, sealed and delivered with an impressive four stars.

Wicked Little Letters arrives in UK cinemas from February 23 2024.