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Late Night and workplace diversity (Amazon Prime Video)

[This review was contributed by (AF).]

Produced by Film Nation Entertainment and theatrically released in June 2019, Amazon Prime acquired and streams the comedy-drama, Late Night. The premise initially deals with legendary host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) being forced to revitalize her dying talk show or be replaced with younger relevant talent.

Coupled with stale material, fragile egos, and lack of diversity Katherine’s quick fix comes in the form of Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling). A new hire with minimal writing experience but immediately labeled as an affirmative action token.

Excited for the rare job opportunity, Molly extends an olive branch to her peers. However, she is greeted with hostility, sits on a trashcan, and is called the number eight on her first day. Katherine is shielded from constructive criticism and is surrounded by “Yes men” trying to avoid being fired. Then moments of success begin due to small changes, Katherine starts to depend on Molly and Molly starts to earn the respect of her peers.

The story itself had a consistent pace, witty dialogue and actress Emma Thompson delivered a terrific performance. Though some points in the story felt gimmicky, the majority of the film itself was enjoyable.

This story may hit an emotional cored for women of color in a workplace dominated by white males. Similar to proving yourself to coworkers, a layer of self-righteous arrogance is added and it makes respect that much harder to gain.

This movie touches on the real discontentment of white males feeling threatened by diversity in the workplace. It has the potential to start a conversation among friends and family regarding inferiority complexes, racial sensitivity, or women in the workplace. So I would recommend this movie.

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