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Senior Citizen Kane Club: Late Night

Nisha Ganatra

Channelling her own experiences as a female writer in a television industry dominated by men, writer-actor-comedian Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project, The Office US) takes on equality issues with wit and humour in the Sundance hit Late Night.

"A winsome, sophisticated comedy about the times in which we live."

Katherine Newbury (a glorious Emma Thompson) is a pioneer and legendary host on the late-night talk-show circuit. When she’s accused of being a “woman who hates women,” she puts affirmative action on the to-do list, and – presto! – Molly (Mindy Kaling) is hired as the one woman in Katherine’s all-male writers’ room. But Molly might be too little too late, as the formidable Katherine also faces the reality of low ratings and a network that wants to replace her. Molly, wanting to prove she’s not simply a diversity hire who’s disrupting the comfort of the brotherhood, is determined to help Katherine by revitalising her show and career – and possibly effect even bigger change at the same time.

Thompson brings pathos and amusingly severe charm to the pantsuit-clad Katherine. Smartly written by Kaling and snappily directed by Nisha Ganatra, Late Night takes on white privilege, entitlement, and a culture veering toward crassness and conservatism. Questioning how women in power are ‘supposed’ to act, it delivers a winsome, sophisticated comedy about the times in which we live.