The newly released movie ‘Late Night’ starring the delightful duo of Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling is an intelligent, well-acted, well-written and well-paced gem that is worth both your money and time.
I have long been a fan of Dame Emma Thompson; from her early days in the brilliant ‘Dead Again’ and hilarious ‘Junior’. Her wit, warmth and the twinkle in her eye make her utterly likable and relatable and she has achieved a level of success few attain, amongst the stars - Oscar, BAFTA Award, she’s a Dame omg!
She plays the lead in this movie, Katherine Newbury who has been the host of a late night talk show for decades. Her boss (played with a smoldering intensity by Amy Ryan) informs her that the current season will be her last. Katherine is thunderstruck that the most important thing in the world to her, her show, is being taken away. She must face the truth of sliding ratings and relevance, which she does but being the striver of excellence that she claims to be she also recognizes that she must DO something. She will not go gently into that good night.
Enter Mindy Kaling, a newly hired writer who brings with her an earnestness her boss finds annoying and isn’t afraid to tell her starstruck new hire self. Mindy’s character Molly Patel also possesses loads of youthful enthusiasm and fresh ideas and isn’t afraid to voice them either.
The movie is sharp and speaks eloquently to the starring role that aging plays for women in society today while it should really only be a supporting or bit player. But what I appreciated most about this lovely film is the relationship between Molly and Katherine which resembled a romance between women. They start in a power imbalance with Katherine being the well known and rewarded *Star and Molly a first-time writer having coming directly from a job for quality control at a chemical plant. Their relationship is complex and the scenes between the two have a crackling energy that aces the Bechdel test with flying colours.
For those who don’t feel like clicking and need a reminder, in order to pass the Bechdel test the rules are:
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man
This movie achieves that desired result and then some; the two female leads are charismatic and enjoy an entirely plausible relationship that is based squarely on their talents and quirky personalities. For this we have the brilliant Mindy Kaling to thank as she wrote this charming and smart movie and I honestly hope she writes more movies and fills the theatres with more smart and snappy female heavy movies.