Close to the spirit of the times and yet timeless – director Nisha Ganatra is right there LATE NIGHT, her first feature film since 2005, touches a number of nerves and not only entertains, but also cleverly puts her finger on the wound of a society in which “old white man” seems to have become a dirty word, only to show at the same time that everything that can hardly be generalized. More about this in our review.
Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) on the way to her new job as a writer for Tonight with Katherine Newbury.
The plot summary
The image of the successful late-night host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is seriously shaken when it becomes known that the television presenter is a real misogynist. Her team only consists of men, and her gags are slowly gathering dust. To save her reputation, she appoints the clumsy but highly talented young author Molly (Mindy Kaling) to her team. She is supposed to bring a breath of fresh air into the long-established group and get Katherine’s show back on the right course. This is sorely needed, because as Katherine has now been informed, she only has one year left at her station. Due to continuously falling quotas, they decided to replace them. So from now on, Katherine actually has to pull together with Molly in order to save the show, but above all the career of the TV legend. A marketing stunt turns into a close-knit team and the reserved Molly becomes a real fighter…
Late Night Movie Meaning of ending
In contrast to the USA, the area of late-night talk shows is not so good in Germany. Since the legendary presenter Harald Schmidt retired a few years ago and has sporadically railed against his former profession in the media since then, names like Jan Böhmermann and Klaas Heufer-Umlauf have primarily been making television for niche or young viewers. And that no longer has anything to do with what was previously understood as late night . In the United States, on the other hand, the late-night hosts are literally stepping on each other’s toes; one more successful than others. Clips with interviews or other actions that have become cult have long since reached our realm thanks to the video service YouTube. That may also be a bit of the reason why the comedy by the Canadian-born and series director Nisha Ganatra (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), simply titled “Late Night ,” reminds you of two films that have absolutely nothing to do with the subject Late Night: “Morning Glory”, a feel-good film about the phenomenon of breakfast television, and “The Devil Wears Prada” about the tough boss of a fashion magazine, embodied by Meryl Streep, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role. Both films are primarily interested in the inner lives of their characters as well as their external perception – just as in the case of “Late Night”. And what’s more, they all offer an intimate look behind the scenes of various entertainment areas.
Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) with her team of writers.
Referring to “Morning Glory” and “The Devil Wears Prada” is by no means meant negatively; on the contrary. This comparison is primarily used for tonal classification. Even those who have had little to do with the topic of late-night shows will soon be infected by the enthusiasm of the cast and crew for the subject. Just as it already applied to good morning television or the broad field of fashion journalism. Just like the directing works by Roger Michell and David Frankel, in the case of “Late Night”, the viewer also benefits from a script written with great observational skills, which the leading actress and screenwriter Mindy Kailing (“Ocean’s Eight”) wrote for herself. Herself and her colleague Emma Thompson (“Kinderwohl”) , who encourage each other to achieve top verbal performance. Thompson embodies her tough businesswoman not as a stubborn career beast, but as a woman who is sometimes helpless in the pressure of ratings, but who, when in doubt, does everything she can to convince those around her that she is tough but not malicious – and what happens to her reputation We don’t want to reveal what “misogynist” means at this point, because the fact that the conflict in “Late Night” is based on the fact that a woman fulfills the cliché image of the “old white man” on top of that Only those who are part of their team makes the film deal with the topic of the male-dominated entertainment industry in a much more complex way than if the focus were actually on a male host.
Because yes, of course Nisha Ganatra meets the zeitgeist characterized by #MeToo and Co. with her fourth feature film directing effort, but instead of just pointing the finger at grievances again, she visibly enjoys pointing out solutions to question the entire system and not just cling to a certain image of the enemy. And so Mindy Kaling, as a clumsy newcomer to the team, initially seems almost lost to the resolute, dry but also damn funny Katherine Newbury (who, even more than a woman, would have preferred to hire a gay man to prove that she is open to new things! ) or the team of authors who think in deadlocked processes. But the forty-year-old Mimin plays the change into a gag writer who gradually rises up the career ladder thanks to her skills, who repeatedly clashes with her boss, who initially seems to be vastly superior to her, but soon pulls together, with absolute confidence and with a lot of flair proper comedy timing. The fact that Kaling’s Molly sometimes rests on her status as a woman is part of the most complex examination of the topic. A scene in which a colleague points out to Molly that she has to gain respect here through her talent and not her being a woman is one of the strongest in the entire film.
All of this proves: Mindy Kaling, not only as an actress, but especially as an author, knows exactly how to approach the topic credibly and without pity. Her aim is not to offend either men or women. Instead, she sees “Late Night” as a #MeToo film that doesn’t focus on the victims, but on the system – and which means that the characters involved are constantly looking forward instead of succumbing to the fascination of simply emphasizing again and again how bad it is Status quo is right now. To ensure that this is successful, Kaling never misses an opportunity to provide an insight behind the scenes of the entertainment business with as much attention to detail as possible. It’s about ratings pressure, about what you can and can’t say in front of the camera, and also about how quickly a person’s career can be over in the public eye if you do something wrong just once. It is precisely at this point that it no longer matters at all what gender the people in the focus are. Things like slut and body shaming are seen as derogatory by both men and women. And these days are just as much a part of life as a VIP, as is the fact that the competition sometimes manages to get to the same position as you with much less talent but many more fans. Nisha Ganatra also tries her hand at the many, many socially relevant topics the embedding of a romance. Maybe it would have been better if she hadn’t, because given the lack of time, this subplot in “Late Night” just falls a bit short. But in order to give Kaling a hearing not only in her position as a woman and non-white, so that she can change the situation on “Tonight with Katherine Newbury”, but also as a completely normal person, it is only logical that her private life is not completely to be ignored. Seen this way, a few extra minutes would have helped the film to near perfection.
Conclusion: Without always waving the unpleasant index finger and blaming the “old white men” for the show’s constant decline, Kailing’s story is a charming appeal to diversity and what follows when you live it out as a matter of course. The punchlines hit the mark, the emotional aspects of the story are also igniting and in the end there is the unconditional striving for harmony and against the pronounced elbow society. Really good!
“Late Night” can be seen in USA cinemas from August 29th.