In the 2021 movie, “The Lost Daughter,” Olivia Colman played a middle-aged woman looking back at her life and Jessie Buckley played her as a young woman. Now, the two are back in another movie, but this time they play neighbors in the English town of Littlehampton in 1920.

“Wicked Little Letters” begins by telling us, “This is more true than you’d think.” We then see an envelope being dropped through a mail slot, which we are told is the nineteenth such missive to arrive at the address.

Colman plays Edith Swan, a pious middle-aged woman who lives with her mother, Victoria (Gemma Jones), and overzealously religious and misogynistic father, Edward (Timothy Spall). The letter, like the eighteen that preceded it, contains profane personal attacks on Edith. She and her father both assume all the offending correspondence was written by their neighbor, Rose Gooding (Buckley), a lively mid-30s Irish immigrant with a Black boyfriend (Malachi Kirby), a young daughter (Alisha Weir), and a boisterous reputation at the local pub.

Edward confronts a police constable and insists he do something about such scandalous behavior. The cop’s supervisor agrees, and before long, Rose is handcuffed and thrown in jail over the objections of Woman Police Officer Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan) — who always introduces herself that way because her colleagues never miss an opportunity to remind her of her second-class status on the force.

With no actual evidence against Rose, Moss doesn’t believe she is the culprit and — despite being told to stay away from the case by her boss, and with the help of a couple of other female free spirits — sets out to find who the poison pen really belongs to. While they’re investigating, the letters keep coming, and not just to Edith. They start showing up in the mail slots of several other Littlehampton residents, and soon become national news across Britain, a country that still today revels in supposedly shocking stories.

At times, “Wicked Little Letters” provokes the kind of middle-school giggles you’d get when someone reads aloud a letter full of naughty words in an authoritative setting in an attempt to portray how awfully inappropriate they are. Just think of the Moms For Liberty types reading passages from books they want banned at school board meetings in 2024 — usually involving LGBT people or other minorities — in an attempt to return us to the tight-ass puritanical era this movie takes place in.

But “Wicked Little Letters” also has some genuinely funny scenes and wonderfully drawn characters, thanks to the talents of Colman and Buckley, who are so good at playing it straight. Spall is equally as good at playing a villain, as he did in the Harry Potter movies and opposite Rachel Weisz and Tom Wilkinson in 2016’s “Denial,” which I reviewed here.

Directed with just the right touch by Thea Sharrock and written by Jonny Sweet, “Wicked Little Letters” left me with a smile on my face, so I’m giving it an 8.5 out of 10. Opens in theaters today.