Late Night – a review

To borrow the name of Jane Caro‘s new book, I am an accidental feminist. Growing up in a church that didn’t value women’s contributions outside the home probably set the stage, but until the last few years, I didn’t really experience much sex-descrimination personally. Sexism yes, but I had my own businesses and did quite well in mainstream education so I never came up against any career-related descrimination.

I got married and took my husband’s name before I realised I didn’t have to. Looking back I see that I could have benefitted from a little more fire in the belly. Who knows what I might have achieved if I hadn’t been so damned content?

So why am I such a feminist now? Why am I writing Strong Female Protagonists, and promoting women’s writing and spruiking women’s art, movies, poetry and podcasts? Because it’s ridiculous that it’s 2019 and women are losing rights all over the world, and if we don’t all muck in we’ll be living in frikken Gilead before we know it.

I can’t believe we still have to protest this crap!

So this brings me to Late Night, written by Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project, A Wrinkle in Time) and starring Kaling with Emma Thompson, British powerhouse actor for whom Kaling created the role. Thompson channels her inner Miranda Priestly while Kaling is (almost a little too) earnest for my liking, something they broach in the movie, so it was probably intentional.

The Original Boss Bitch? Oh I love her so much!!!

I enjoyed the movie. For the first time in a long time, I was able to just enjoy the story and not think too hard about the plot. I think this is because it was sweet and funny even if it had few surprises – Girl gets Job, Girl get Job Done, Girl loses Job because of someone else being a Dick, Girl gets job back because she’s a superstar. Spoiler alert, by the way…

see it five times.

The whole is most certainly greater than the sum of its parts, because there are elements to the story that frustrated the hell out of me. I was almost shouting at the screen as Molly (Kaling) headed into work for her first day. “Don’t be Muffin Girl” I was screaming internally. Why, Molly? Why would you take muffins on the first day? Why?

{Oh, this reminds my of a story I heard once…No idea where I heard this but it’s gold! A woman was offered her dream job, but the day before she commenced she rang the office to ask if there was anything special she needed to know for the first day. She was moving into a management role that had been hotly contested by internal applicants…so, the woman on the phone told her that it was lucky she had called because it just so happened that the next day the entire staff were dressing up as superheroes for charity. Could you come dressed as a superhero? It would really help you fit in. Cheerio, see you tomorrow. That woman did her first day dressed as Wonder Woman surrounded by dozens of people who most certainly were not dressed as superheroes. Tough gig.}

Of course, Molly cries at work; I mean we’ve all cried at work. I was cringeing so hard I nearly flipped inside out. It’s hard to watch ourselves up on the screen but the more we tell our stories the less other, younger women will have to repeat them. Our Grandmothers and Mothers’ made all lot of ground, but because our stories weren’t being told, because we didn’t see ourselves as anything but the supporting role, the waitress, the rape victim, the sizzling vixen or the simpering ex-wife, it’s a little uncomfortable still to see women standing in their own power. For a while we thought it was enough to remake iconic movies with an all-female cast. BORING. Until the #TimesUp movement got a little traction female driven content was on the fringes but with talent like Kaling and a raft of projects on the drawing boards of Hollywood’s most powerful women we should be seeing a whole lot more of ourselves in the near future.

One last thing…Mindy, if you’re reading this, please, for the love of Dame Judy, please edit the ending and let Molly and 7 (Tom?) fist bump, touch elbows while smiling triumphantly, or even shake hands. He didn’t need to kiss her sleeve. That was weird! Why did you do it? You didn’t have to; Molly got with the hot guy…just, no.


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