Comedy Movie

Wicked Little Letters

“Wicked Little Letters,” a new film directed by Thea Sharrock with a very funny script by Jonny Sweet, is based on a tempest-in-a-teapot news story from 1918-1920, a local scandal which made national headlines in England. Rose Gooding, an Irish woman with a small daughter, moved to the small seaside community of Littlehampton, and struck up a friendship with her next-door neighbor, Edith Swan, a middle-aged woman living with her parents. Soon, Edith began receiving anonymous letters, filled with obscene language, calling her all sorts of horrible names. For reasons unknown (although the film makes some very astute guesses), Edith accused Rose. Rose was Irish, with a mysteriously absent husband, and so the community was only too eager to believe Edith. There was a trial, and Rose ended up doing multiple jail stints, one involving hard labor. But then a female police officer (the only one in Littlehampton at the time) started her own investigation. She had doubts. Rose was eventually released, cleared of all charges. Such a story, with all its gossip and intrigue, silliness and absurdities, could only be a true one.

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