In an age where the fight for workplace diversity is prevalent, it’s only apt that there be a film on the topic.
Late Night is a comedy-drama that follows late night talk show host, Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson), whose career is on the fritz. Being known for sticking to tradition and ambivalent to chance, she’s forced to make a diversity hire in order to smooth concerns at the workplace. This leads to the hiring of Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling), the first female, and someone of non-Caucasian descent, to be hired as part of Newbury’s writing staff.
What ensues is a showcase of Newbury’s struggle to accept chance, resulting in failing ratings, an in-depth showcase of racism and sexism at its finest and an overall look at the struggles women, especially women of colour, face in traditionally male and Caucasian careers.
The film’s narrative was well crafted, managing to hit the nail on the head for several issues surrounding both the workplace and today’s society in general. As woman, and one of South Asian descent, who has struggled to navigate through the world of entertainment, more specifically in gaming, which is as traditionally male driven as that of Newbury’s line of work in talk shows, I felt a strong kinship with the film’s narrative as it almost felt as if the film was speaking to me, challenging me to overcome the hardships and struggles of racism and sexism to push past and succeed.
In this way, the narrative managed to fire me up and I’m sure it would have the same effect to many other career minded women, working in high profile jobs where there’s a significant pay and power gap between male and female.
Both Thompson and Kaling brilliantly portray their roles, almost to perfection. Their abilities to convey the depth of emotion and do so with humour and grace speaks of their experience in film. Character development in Late Night was of particular note as it was an entertaining journey, watching Kaling’s character continually attempt to overcome her obstacles, to not only cement herself as a valuable member of the writing team but to also push Thompson’s Newbury out of her current funk.
The pacing of the film was slightly on the slow side but this was necessary to properly convey the story of the film.
Overall, Late Night was an entertaining watch, one that women, in particular, may appreciate due to the context and societal issues in which the film is based around. There’s a lot of heart in the film, one brilliantly executed that it makes audiences want to jump up and cheer Kaling and Thompson’s characters on.