Late night, along with the rest of television, has expanded significantly in recent years, a trend that’s enabled some women to join the boys’ club, if not so many or for as long as some may have hoped.
late night movie review roger ebert – Late Night
For years, British comedian Katherine Newberry (Emma Thompson) has been the only woman hosting a late night talk show on American television. Rather than cave, Katherine somehow takes it as a challenge, forcing her to reconnect with her writers. Too lazy to learn names, she assigns them numbers. And Molly becomes the single diversity hire” in a cynical scheme to create a veneer of multiculturalism.
But the best thing about Emma is that she’s not forceful with her opinions. She really lets the character find its footing in the fitting room with you, and so you get to be a part of that creation with her. Because you’re allowed that freedom, you’re allowed to get it wrong. There are certain fittings where you just want to get it right and you want to make sure you don’t take up somebody’s time, and it doesn’t feel like you’re exploring in the same way that you get with Emma. Or Mindy — they’re similar in that process.
Written by and co-starring Mindy Kaling (Ocean’s 8, 2018), Late Night is a swift, witty, and hopeful comedy that also manages to be insightful. Kaling plays a plucky aspiring comedy writer who gets hired on the writing staff of an established late night talk show. Emma Thompson (Beauty and the Beast, 2017) plays the prestigious host of the talk show (in slick pantsuits & fierce heels) and perfectly realizes her role as a cold, cantankerous, high-brow leader who’s popularity is waning. Thompson’s world-weary, blunt pessimism is balanced against Kaling’s fresh, inexperienced optimism as Kaling’s character learns the challenges of no workplace diversity, a demanding boss, modern sexism, and doubts in her talent.
Aug. 21 (UPI) – Late Night, written by and starring Mindy Kaling , premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and opened in theaters in June. On Wednesday, Amazon announced the film would be available on Amazon Prime September 6. Amazon also released a new trailer announcing the date.
Of course, you can imagine what happens next: Molly injects a new, youthful, and inclusive perspective into the show and encourages Katherine to be more real” in her monologues. Katherine resists at first but eventually begins taking Molly’s advice, with some success. She also notes, with a grudging admiration, Molly’s extreme work ethic. At the same time, Katherine is a deeply unsentimental woman (she calls her writers by arbitrarily assigned numbers, not their actual names), so don’t expect a touchy-feely buddy comedy to break out quite yet.
This is some of Emma Thompson’s best work (and that’s saying something). There’s a truly subversive sequence where Newbury gets embroiled in her own #MeToo moment, calling into question many assumptions about men, women, and power. What’s subversive about it is how it shows the complexities behind the scenes, the pain, the human frailty, but how does one even address these complexities in such a savage “off with her head” atmosphere? Kaling addresses it. It’s very bold. Katherine’s husband ( John Lithgow ) is kindly and indulgent, and suffering from a debilitating disease. There’s always more going on than meets the eye. As Molly gets sucked into the rhythms of her job, it gives Kaling an opportunity to critique how things work, but also – in some of the smartest sequences – examine why jokes work, what makes a joke go viral, the subtleties of comedy itself.
Want to partake in the timeless tradition of communal witching-hour viewing? These cinemas offer midnight movie screenings of retro flicks, cult classics, musicals and more. Diverting and for the most part agreeably amusing, Late Night is about as mainstream and conventional a movie as could be made right now about the timely issues of women and minorities finding equal footing in the workplace.
THE DEVIL WEARS TJ MAXX – My Review of LATE NIGHT (3 Stars) Growing up, I always had a soft spot for big budget American studio films. I subconsciously knew most lacked subtlety and sophistication, but man was it fun to watch Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase rappel down the side of a building in Foul Play or see Liza Minnelli, Gene Hackman and Burt Reynolds share the screen in the forgotten programmer Lucky Lady. That silly, loud American spirit meant something to me that the French New Wave or “Art Films” couldn’t provide. I have also always loved a good workplace comedy, and for me, nothing has ever come as close to perfection as Broadcast News. It was around that time, in fact, that my tastes started to change. I got tired of the formula, the laziness, and I started to crave jump cuts, handheld cameras, and brazen audacity. For me, the studios rarely made anything but forgettable eye candy. To a degree, they still do, with an occasional rare gem shining out from a giant turd pile.
As the rumor that Katherine is being replaced by a younger, charismatic male host circulates throughout New York City, she puts her writers to the test to turn her career into what it once was. Determined to revive Katherine’s career, and prove that she was not just a diversity hire, Molly plans on giving the show a more personal perspective. Contrasting with the established nature of Katherine’s reputation, Molly’s ideas could either make or break both of their careers.
This is one of those rare films where almost the entire supporting and ancillary cast and characters just work. Most personalities, even for the more minor members of Thompson’s writing staff are well-crafted. I simply don’t have time to credit all the actors in this.
Molly’s fresh, modern perspective might just be what Katherine needs. The two women’s contentious relationship follows the trajectory of a standard rom-com, with a platonic, professional connection instead of the traditional romantic one. Drawing on her early experience as an intern on Conan ‘Brien’s talk show, Kaling creates a convincingly realized behind-the-scenes world. There’s a “The Devil Wears Prada” feel to her script, also focusing on an ambitious woman faced with a powerful, impossibly demanding female boss.
Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling shine in this comedy about Katherine Newbury (Thompson)—the first and only woman, in this fictional world, to helm a long-running late-night network talk show—and her unlikely protege, Molly Patel (Kaling), a former chemical plant employee who’s yearned to work in comedy. When Katherine is set to be replaced by a young male comedian, she and her team, among them Molly (hired to fill a quota) and several white male writers who resent her presence, set out to shake things up. Kaling wrote the script, and Nisha Ganatra (Chutney Popcorn) directed. Kaling’s biggest flaw as a creator is a wild unevenness that mars even her best work, but her undeniable charisma and tenacious vulnerability, combined with her prodigious sense of humor, compensate for that. Heightened by an impressive performance from Thompson, it’s a fun movie that tackles a variety of issues, including sexism in the workplace, with panache. With John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy, and Amy Ryan.
Legendary late-night talk show host’s world is turned upside down when she hires her only female staff writer. Originally intended to smooth over diversity concerns, her decision has unexpectedly hilarious consequences as the two women separated by culture and generation are united by their love of a biting punchline.
It’s Molly’s idea to make that word work in Katherine’s favor. Talk to her audience honestly, about age, menopause and the fear of being replaced. Katherine is intensely private about her marriage to loyal Walter (a stellar John Lithgow), an emeritus NYU professor suffering from Parkinson’s disease. But when the tabloids implicate her in a sex scandal and embarrassing private emails are leaked, Katherine has only two choices: accept becoming ratings poison or fight back.
Ganatra casts a similar eye on Kaling’s performance; her direction allows Molly to be spunky and naive, yet intelligent and fierce while being peppered with Kaling’s own pensive, poised, hilarious personality. Ganatra, Kaling and Thompson effortlessly bring two very different women to life in ways who are both complex and so different from one another, yet as a woman, I could see pieces of myself and other women I knew in both. It sounds easy to do, but it rarely comes together so seamlessly.
As a counterpoint to Emma Thompson’s incredibly high-end wardrobe, how did you think about dressing Mindy Kaling, whose character, Molly, doesn’t have a lot of money and is just entering the comedy world? Obviously, we know Mindy Kaling to be someone who really loves fashion.
There are times when the movie loves TV so much that you get the feeling it would rather just be TV. A whole sitcom-season’s worth of story is shoehorned into less than two hours, as subplots and secondary characters that might have filled up half an episode are confined to a few swift beats. This is as much a compliment as a complaint, or at least a way of acknowledging the strength of the cast and the writing. But there’s a lot to keep track of. Molly’s battle of wills with one co-worker (Reid Scott) and her ill-advised romance with another (Hugh Dancy); Katherine’s marriage, her conflict with the network, her mental-health issues, her sex scandals. It all moves along at a snappy enough pace, but sometimes feels more facile than insightful.
You’re fired, obviously,” says late-night talk-show host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson), dismissing an underling as one might brush away a tiresome speck of lint. The plummy, hand-waving derision of Thompson’s tone — she’s resenting this person for necessitating the words, for causing her to expend energy saying something that shouldn’t need to be said — is a tiny masterpiece, as is virtually everything else Thompson says in Late Night,” a glossy, enjoyable workplace comedy directed by Nisha Ganatra and written by Mindy Kaling.
Something magical happens when you see a movie in a theater late at night. Critical expectations drop, the madness of the crowd sets in, and you might even feel an illicit thrill as if you’re an adolescent breaking curfew. Midnight movies aren’t the time for introspection or the next new thing. Forget The Last Picture Show; we want The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Not The Last Jedi but Return of the Jedi. Audience interaction, dumb stories, and gross-out scares are the order of the (very early) the XXL tub of popcorn with too much butter, a jumbo box of Milk Duds, and a gallon of soda (to share!) It’s time for late-night New York thrills and chills on the big screen.
Late night, along with the rest of television, has expanded significantly in recent years, a trend that’s enabled some women to join the boys’ club, if not so many or for as long as some may have hoped. Chelsea Handler’s Chelsea Lately ran on E! for seven years, though the comedian went on to become the first of several casualties , including The Break’s Michelle Wolf, as Netflix tries to make the talk show work for streaming. Busy Philipps’s ultra-femme Busy Tonight, also on E!, was recently canceled after seven months; Robin Thede’s BET show The Rundown met the same fate last year. Only Samantha Bee’s weekly TBS show Full Frontal—a righteously caustic bat signal to fellow liberals who are mad as hell and can’t take it anymore—has found long-term footing since its debut in 2016. In this respect, and their shared taste in androgynous blazers, Bee may be Katherine’s truest analog.
This opportunity comes about because the host of Late Night” is desperately trying to hold onto her program. Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) was once the hottest star in her time slot. But, having outlasted both Jay Leno and David Letterman — as well as other competitors in between — after 28 years she’s become stale, without realizing that this has occurred.
I called up Travers, who is currently working on Jon M. Chu’s film adaptation of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical In the Heights, to talk about those suits, the sartorial expectations heaped on women in Hollywood, and the real-life style of talk show hosts.
Most of all, I found the world of Late Night to be fascinating. I wanted to swim around in it for not just one movie, but seasons of a TV show. There’s the depressing but alluring fantasy element: It’s a not only a world where a woman finally successfully conquered late-night, but one where that’s such old news that she’s already out of touch. But more than that, there’s a dishy, peek-behind-the-curtain feel to it. One assumes Kaling, who was an intern on Late Night with Conan ‘Brien before her TV writing career took off, knows a thing or two about how a late-night writers’ room really operates. If Kaling tells me that there are late-night writers out there who’ve never been to their show’s stage, or who’ve never even been introduced to their host by name, I believe her. It’s like one of Kaling’s tell-all memoirs, but with a Hollywood budget and top-rate actors, and that’s essentially catnip for comedy nerds like me.
Late Night is funny because Emma Thompson makes Kate funny. She’s harsh and depressed and yet, razor sharp when she wants to be. Watching Molly see just how sharp she is off camera versus on camera is part of the plot of Late Night but, again, just making Kate speak her mind is too simple for this super-smart movie. Kate has to psychologically get out of her own way first before she can be authentic on her show and the pitfalls of that self-examination are at the heart of this brilliant little movie.
Written by, produced by, and costarring Mindy Kaling, Late Night is simultaneously an escapist fantasy and a hard-nosed reality check. On the one hand, the story takes place in a world where a middle-aged woman has rested comfortably at the top of her male-dominated industry for decades. On the other, she’s still the only one, because institutional sexism is very much a thing even in Late Night’s alternate universe—practiced, often enough, by Katherine herself. Katherine may be a woman, but her writers’ room is composed entirely of (white) men. The MC is happy enough to deploy feminism as a galaxy-brain excuse for denying an employee a raise, but she’s loath to use it as a framework, let alone a set of obligations. Only a mixture of desperation and spite finally compels Katherine to bring on a female writer, Kaling’s gung-ho Molly Patel.
And if viewers still don’t get the message, well, she’s speaking to them through the movie’s other protagonist, a character whom Kaling admits she identifies with just as much as she does with Molly You can hear Kaling bristling at critics of The Mindy Project in a rant she has Katherine direct at Molly, about an absurdly confident newcomer coming in, criticizing my show, and giving me her assessment of my comedic persona, without doing the hard work of presenting me with solutions.” Kaling may have started out in Hollywood as a Molly, but she’s become something closer to a Katherine.
Still, the movie does take a dramatic turn in its second half, moving from pure comedy into a heavy-hitting reality check. It’s an arena that plenty of comedies have explored before, and it works because the film has earned enough goodwill to ensure audiences care about the characters it impacts the most.
Yes. Mindy has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of fashion and designer clothing. She loves fittings, she loves to talk about clothes, she loves character. So a fitting room with Mindy is fun. It’s a place where she gets to really create visually.
Molly is also contending with the inappropriate advances of the staff Lothario (Hugh Dancy) and the hostility of the shows’s head writer (Reid Scott). In a scene late in the movie, Molly (Mindy Kaling) calls Tom (Reid Scott) “Dan” – possibly an homage to the character he plays on Veep.
Mindy Kaling, right, wrote the lead role in Late Night with Emma Thompson in mind. They filmed the movie in a “white heat of passion” in 25 days, Thompson says. They are pictured above in London in May 2019. In Late Night, Mindy Kaling plays a woman who gets a job writing jokes for an iconic talk show host, and has a hard time making inroads among the all-male staff.
Mindy Kaling (L) and Emma Thompson (R) in Late Night. Nisha Ganatra’s LATE NIGHT is a comic tour-de-force for stars Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson, and a biting look at the art of making great TV. The A.V. Club’s Jesse Hassenger wrote that Late Night” didn’t mind delving into tougher issues, but seemed too eager to immediately move on to more positive plot developments.
Obviously Emma Thompson is one of the greatest actors we have. It’s rare that you get to work with somebody who can transform a costume by performance. Oftentimes you are presenting one version of a character with a costume, and that will help the actor in a specific scene. But the amazing thing about Emma is that she’s able to have this duality in her performance. I was lucky enough that this was my second time working with her, so I know this about her and was able to meet her performance with a costume that could be malleable in the way that I know that she is.
Very disappointing! I expected so much from this movie, mainly because of Emma Thompson. It’s probably the weakest role I’ve seen this superb comedic and dramatic actress play. I thought the plot line and writing waspure drivel.
Another comedy that I wished more people had seen on the big screen. Emma Thompson, triumphantly plays a late-night talk show host who is forced to reinvent herself after she learns the network wants to cancel her due to lousy ratings. Mindy Kaling, who wrote the script for Late Night ,” is the newly hired female writer determined to fix the show. After selling at Sundance to Amazon Studios for $13 million, Late Night” was billed as the next Devil Wears Prada,” but it failed to find its footing during a June theatrical release. As a result of how it underperformed in theaters, Amazon changed its strategy, releasing some of its other movies — such as The Report” — on fewer screens. But you have to wonder if, with a different distributor (one that didn’t schedule a female-centric movie for Father’s Day weekend), Late Night” would have made a bigger splash.
The film also uses its funny setup to dig into buzzy social issues with humor, from the groundswell conversations about diversity and inclusion in the workplace to women continuing to find for equality even once they do land a job. That the film is set inside the late night world, which so desperately needs to have its own reckoning with its continued lack of female hosts, only adds to its timeliness. Just imagine how Late Night,” if it had become a pop culture phenomenon, might have impacted broader discussions about the need to shake up and diversify this antiquated format.
There’s a funny thing about late night TV, says Mindy Kaling. Watching these shows, “there’s such a joie de vivre” — but it’s at odds with the “ruthlessness and mercilessness” that goes into making the show behind the scenes. “I was obsessed with how all these people could be working so hard and be so competitive to make a product that is so entertaining and light,” Kaling says.
Where the film falters is around the edges, as it attempts to shoehorn in not one, but two romantic subplots for Molly. At first, she hooks up with the staff’s resident lothario (Hugh Dancy), but eventually is drawn to head writer (Reid Scott), who initially resented Molly but ultimately comes to admire her. Honestly, neither of these relationships feels particularly fleshed out or necessary. At the very least, she should’ve focused on just one.
You see, Katherine’s talk show has been on a steady decline for years, unbeknownst to her. And it takes the head of the multi-media conglomerate to wake Katherine up: She must relate to a younger audience, or her show will be nixed.