‘You’re a writer, so write’ – Late Night (2019) review

Late night talk shows may not be much of a thing here in the UK, but over in the US they are big business, and to pioneering talk show host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) they are everything. Used to be top dog in her field, when she discovers that her ratings are falling and a new host is being lined up to take her job, Katherine is willing to do anything to keep everything the way it always has been, even if that means changing one big thing and hiring her first female writer. Molly (Mindy Kaling) may have some good ideas but she is going to need more than that to get through to Katherine and save the show.

Emma Thompson is one of those great performers who has the ability to make whatever character she is playing completely believable. Katherine Newbury is complex, and she isn’t without her flaws. She doesn’t boast of her fame, and although keeping her job at the talk show would maintain her fame, it seems as if she wants the job because she is used to it, because it is what she is used too and it’s comfortable. The threat of having that comfortable position taking away from her sends her down a different past, and with Molly’s help she has to find a way to get her career back on track. But Katherine isn’t used to accepting help, especially from someone as opinionated as writer Molly.

Molly, played by Mindy Kaling, is determined and passionate, butting heads with Katherine and her all male gang of writers. She doesn’t just want to a token, a diversity hire that makes the company look good, she wants to make a difference. Kaling has a natural flair for comedy, knowing just how far to push it and her chemistry with Thompson as Katherine is believable and enjoyable to watch. They bounce off of each other well, with many witty and clever exchanges between the two. With Hugh Dancy and Reid Scott as Charlie Fain and Tom Campbell respectively, this film has some great characters, all of which are realistic with true flaws.

Whilst ‘Late Night’ has an interesting and overall enjoyable plot line, with well developed characters, it does feel rather long, even though it actually only has a running time of one hour and 45 minutes. Some parts feel has if they could have been faster or taken out entirely as drawn scenes slow down the pace of the story and leave you waiting for the next thing to happen, especially when it comes to some of the more predictable plot points. It’s a shame really, as it takes away from a great film.

To conclude, ‘Late Night’ is thoroughly enjoyable as it is completely believable, with well developed characters that people can relate too. It’s refreshing to see a film with characters who are flawed with a story that allows these flaws to be highlighted and confronted. It makes it all more realistic. It’s just a shame that it feels just a little bit too drawn out.

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