Late Night was a heartfelt comedy that highlighted a concealed industry

In a time where almost every common streaming service—Netflix, Amazon, Hulu—releases its own original “one-of-a-kind” movies daily, it is easy for plots to become repetitive and mundane. Ideas are recycled again and again out of pure lack of creativity; audiences become bored of the same lame cycle of movies.

The movie Late Night, however, broke through this norm. The fictional film highlighted the hidden industry of late night television like never before, bringing to light the behind-the-scenes workings of a TV show to movie watchers everywhere.

Before watching Late Night, I had never given a thought to the people behind the cameras of Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, or Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show—staples in the world of television. I never thought about the possible staff dynamic or even what the staff of shows like those would entail. I never thought I wanted to.

Luckily for me, Late Night offered an insight on all of these aspects and more with an enjoyable, comedious plot. 

The movie follows an aging woman, Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson), as she works to bring her late night talk show back to life once she’s spotted the end of her career looming over the horizon. She unwillingly hires an unqualified but funny woman named Molly in hopes of livening up her staff. 

As an actress widely known for a role she played in The Office, Mindy Kaling brought a surprisingly quality performance to the movie; she fully embodied the role of Molly Patel with grace. Earnest and unforgiving, Kaling matched Molly’s personality and quirks completely. Her aspirations became one with mine as the movie continued, and I truly felt Molly’s struggles as Kaling acted on screen.

Not only did Late Night give viewers a look at the TV industry, but it also showed a woman in the mostly male role of a talk show host. Thompson played Katherine Newbury with dominance, and she ran her staff with an iron fist. I appreciated this because it offered a unique perspective and much-needed representation of women in the workplace.

Katherine softens as the movie progresses, learning from her many mistakes while attempting to save her show and preserve her marriage. Molly plays a big part in this serving as an unwelcome, annoying, and ultimately necessary light in Katherine’s never-ending darkness. She does so without losing the respect of her employees and viewers, demonstrating to the world that it is not beneficial to be mean.

Underlying plots of romance were subtly added to the film along with funny jokes and awkward situations. The comedy expertly remained heartfelt as well. The lessons learned by Katherine and Molly through their business struggles were ultimately woven into their personal situations through mutual guidance.

Movies that empower women have a special place in my heart, and Late Night was an enjoyable watch for a mellow Saturday night.