WICKED LITTLE LETTERS – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Wicked Little Letters is a freakin’ hoot of a film that could just as appropriately have been called ‘Women Cursing.’ Loosely based on a true story, it takes place in a small town in England in the 1920’s – a time pre-social media, when a poison pen letter could easily set off a full blown scandal. That this scandal is fueled by the antics of Olivia Colman and Jesse Buckley is what makes the movie so delicious. Colman plays Edith, a Bible-quoting spinster who lives with her parents. Her father is a nightmare, bossing her around and treating her like a child. When she receives anonymous letters calling her names like “foxy ass old whore,” everyone assumes her rebellious young neighbor, Rose (Buckley), wrote them. With its brilliant casting and all the fun of a British mystery, Thea Sharrock’s Wicked Little Letters is pure delight.

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WICKED LITTLE LETTERS – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

There is nothing that either Olivia Colman or Jessie Buckley could possibly do that wouldn’t be worth watching. And now they butt heads onscreen for the first time. I adore Wicked Little Letters, a future comfort movie for me, a flick to revisit when I’m feeling low and in need of a cheerfully indecent, gloriously naughty pick-me-up.

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WICKED LITTLE LETTERS – Review by Leslie Combemale

What happens when a filmmaker makes a movie and the studio doesn’t know how to market it? Wicked Little Letters, certainly. When they released the trailer, the film looked like a quirky Brit-com led by Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley spouting pithy one-liners in their 1920’s costumes. Fans of BritBox and Acorn no doubt thought, “What’s not to love?” Be prepared, because that’s not at all what you get with this movie. What you get is dark, dark, and more dark, though delivered with the expertise only the best performers can provide.

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WICKED LITTLE LETTERS (TIFF 2023) – Review by Liz Braun

Wicked Little Letters, a dark comedy about an actual scandal that rocked the village of Littlehampton in 1920, is a comical whodunnit and sting operation that broadcast (and spoof) the racism and misogyny of the era. The film has an exhilarating pace and is funny and broad, placing its social message in a lightweight wrapper for easy consumption. Various over-the-top scenes suggest the performers enjoyed making this movie as much as audiences will enjoy watching it.

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THE BEAR: Season 2 – Review by Susan Granger

Have you been watching FX’s Emmy-nominated series The Bear? The first season introduced a prodigal Manhattan chef, Carmen ‘Carmy’ Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White), who returns home to Chicago after his drug-addicted older brother commits suicide and leaves him the local family sandwich shop. Of the second season’s 10 frenetic episodes, two are outstanding.

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EMPIRE OF LIGHT – Review by Susan Granger

Oscar-and-BAFTA nominated for Best Cinematography, Empire of Light is set in 1981 in Margate, a small seaside town in Britain, where middle-aged Hilary Small (Olivia Colman) is the forlorn second-in-command at the Empire Cinema, a fading movie palace. Accepting his 16th Academy Award nomination, cinematographer Roger Deakins explained, “I think this film is about companionship. Hilary has this world with her fellow workers, that sort of friendship beings something more into her life, an existence without a great horizon.”

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EMPIRE OF LIGHT – Review by Diane Carson

Empire of Light is a love letter to 1980s cinema. Writer/director Sam Mendes goes behind the scenes to reveal the lives of those who whisked viewers into another world while battling their own demons and society’s racism, sexual predation, and mental health struggles. Behind the glimmer and glamor of that magical theater and blinding projector’s light existed a real, troubled world from which imagination offered escape, the establishment of a surrogate, supportive family.

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EMPIRE OF LIGHT (TIFF 2022) – Review by Cate Marquis

Empire of Light takes place in a grand old movie theater that is now slowly fading away in early 1980s, with a loyal movie-loving staff still selling tickets and popcorn to dwindling audiences. You would expect such a movie to be a love letter to the movies, or at least old movie theaters, fondly recalling the glory days of actual film on reels and the magic of movies. Writer/director Sam Mendes’ nostalgic drama does start out that way, but then it drifts off into something else, a plot touching on mental illness and racial tensions in the 1980s, and involving a May-October romance.

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Telluride Film Fest 2022: A Woman’s Wrap – Diane Carson reports

Over Labor Day weekend, the 49th Telluride Film Festival presented thought-provoking films to its full complement of attendees, a nice rebound from the all-mask 2021 event. As always, no one could come close to seeing all the enticing films on offer, so tough choices and constant second guessing rules. This year women directed and dominated exceptionally strong selections that tell stories of quite different time periods and subjects. Intelligently and insightfully observing internal and external struggles, revealing the specificity of contemporary and historical pressures (so remarkably relevant today), the fest’s films reached out and inspired as they informed. We are, indeed, a global community.

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Mid-Life Women Trend in European Films and Series – Jennifer Green Comments

The European films and series mentioned here all end on a promising note of self-empowerment for their female characters. The message shared across these stories seems to be that there is plenty of life left to be explored and a realm of new experiences – physical, emotional, spiritual and professional – still to be had for women well into and even past middle age. The market for their stories is wide open.

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