LATE NIGHT (2019)

latenight

Directed By: Nisha Ganatra
Written By: Mindy Kaling
Cinematography: Matthew Clark
Editor: Eleanor Infante & David Rogers

Cast: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, Hugh Dancy, Reid Scott, Denis O’Hare, Max Casella, John Lithgow, Paul Walter Hauser, Luke Slattery, Amy Ryan, Ike Barinholtz, Megalyn Euchikunwoke, John Early, Seth Meyers, Annaleigh Ashford, Halston Sage, Maria Dizzia

Katherine Newbury is a pioneer and legendary host on the late-night talk-show circuit. When she’s accused of being a “woman who hates women,” she puts affirmative action on the to-do list, and –presto!–Molly is hired as the one woman in Katherine’s all-male writers’ room. But Molly might be too little too late, as the formidable Katherine also faces the reality of low ratings and a network that wants to replace her. Wanting to prove she’s not merely a diversity hire who’s disrupting the comfort of the brotherhood, Molly is determined to help Katherine revitalize her show and career–and possibly effect even bigger change at the same time.

This film is a thinly veiled biography of sorts for Mindy Kaling that highlights her experience through a minority writing program and means to show the pedigree that happens in tv writing. Where it is usually overtaken by middle aged Caucasians form ivy league schools and rampant neoptism. 

Now that is a strong message I can agree with but instead of showing and having other people of color in the film and giving them a chance. the film seems to be more a blatant showcase for herself. Starring on and writing the film and also being the center of it all. 

As the film shows white privilege and chauvinistic male behavior and prejudice. It tries to show an upstart and a kind of perfect minority character who is a positive lead and has no negative traits and very few if any flaws other then being naive.

For All the success the Mindy Kaling character makes but usually suffers because again she is the only minority, still usually the only one cast. So she tends to open the door but for herself and not for anyone else of color. It’s not her job but would be nice. As she seems to speak about diversity and that is part of the film’s theme. As she informs about diversity hire workshops and programs.

As again it is not her job but should want to help to a degree. All for being self made on her own show allowed for diversity even while reinforcing certain racial stereotypes puts a fire under white guys but then makes them

All loveable and Always who she chooses romantically here also. 

Just like her character the film starts with focus on an established star then slowly focuses on the supporting character. Slowly taking over the narrative and a bit of the focus though works out an equality as a kind of passing the baton situation. 

The film works more as a workplace comedy. That maintains a kind of Cinderella story of sorts that shows a male point of view of females in television. Particularly late night television. With a spotlight showcase for inclusiveness.

Though will give the film credit as at least is has something to say. Even if it puts in a more mainstream comedic and less colorful cast.

It’s nice to see Emma Thompson in a comedy and is a natural after so many acclaimed dramatic roles. She does have a background in stand-up and sketch comedy before she became more of a dramatic actress. Here dressed in suits with short hair. She almost looks like she is in a uniform by the end she is more femanins and herself 

My first Emma Thompson. I heard about her being an acclaimed actress before I actually saw one of her films. Sort of like Meryl Streep. Where they have such esteem. So that it seems like it has to be an informed decision. As you are already going to have to judge them or base all that you have heard on this

One film or performance. As your introduction and usually that is the most important or memorable. Then again you can just rip the band aid off and go for what is accessible and not put so much meaning behind it. As there is no great introduction (think like when a food was foreign to you and you thought it was nasty without Really trying it and then someone slipped it on your plate or was just naturally part of your meal and you loved it after it wasn’t such a big deal)

Unfortunately for Meryl Streep my introduction was SHE-DEVIL and then DEATH BECOMES HER and while she is an excellent actress whose great performances (SILKWOOD, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE, SOPHIE’S CHOICE, DEFENDING YOUR LIFE) i eventually witnessed many times. It also reminds me she can make misteps though she can do things other then drama. I don’t know if it could be considered comedy with that first film. 

When it comes to Emma Thompson the first film i saw her In was the thriller DEAD AGAIN Directed by her then husband Kenneth Branagh. Then his comedy PETER’S FRIENDS and the star studded MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING a Shakespearean comedy.

I will even admit I only watched films like SENSE & SENSIBILITY because of her and I usually dislike period pictures (Kate Winslet helped and Alan Rickman sold me) 

Though both subconsciously can do no wrong with in a way. I more was attracted to her body of work and her as a actress faster then Meryl Streep

Not to mention have a soft spot for John Lithgow in anything especially a comedy 

Though it comes off as a workplace comedy. It has a lot to mold and shapes to it. Even with it’s simple closed off direction. Like the character and her show it plays basic at first then realizes it’s personality and thus itself.

The characters form a dysfunctional family of sorts that stay supportive after gaining their respect though eventually ventures to a relationship drama of sorts.

In the end the film comes off more idealistic. As it plays like it should. Though feels like a fantasy only after a few steps away form her being a magical negro. If anything I just hope more businesses and studios do the message of this film. 

GRADE: C+

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