One of Late Night's strengths is in its timely, cutting barbs about racism, politics, misogyny, and sexual harassment that are illuminating but, in true Kaling form, come from a goodhearted place. My one minuscule complaint about Late Night is that Kaling's relentlessly positive worldview can sometimes verge on the slightly naïve. In this movie, people change, and the people they've hurt or offended forgive them, and it's suggested that a utopia of racial and gender equality can be achieved in the workplace if only individuals try harder, together.
But the primary feeling I felt when watching Late Night — a movie that costars a woman of color and a woman over 50, that cheers on women who go for it, that has nuance and a point of view on #MeToo and gender and ageism — was joy, mixed with a little vindication.
In one scene I keep thinking about, Katherine, in full self-pitying mode, insists to her husband (John Lithgow) that her show has to be great because it's her "legacy." After all, she never had children. "You didn't want them," he reminds her in a tone that makes it clear she's being disingenuous. She raises an eyebrow in acknowledgment. And that's about it. Never in the film is Katherine's childlessness portrayed as actually sad or pathetic; in fact, that moment is the only time it's addressed. Did I mention that Katherine is portrayed as, and, obviously is, wildly sexy and charismatic? Often not despite, but because of, her age?
In Late Night, Katherine ends her late-night show each night by saying, "I hope I've earned the privilege of your time." With Late Night, Katherine (and Thompson and Kaling and Ganatra and the cast and crew) certainly do.
Stella Artois and Women in Film provided POPSUGAR with travel and accommodations at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.