A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Courage and perseverance earn rewards. Themes of acceptance and appreciating people for what they do and who they are, rather than where they came from or what they look like. Stereotypes about women and people of color are examined and subverted.
Positive Role Models
South Asian woman from humble background lands high-profile, high-paying job generally held by Ivy League white guys; she succeeds despite opposition, even from female boss, and is a brave, authentic person. She shows courage by getting a job where women and people of color are thin on the ground, demonstrates perseverance: She tries hard and works late. Katherine Newbury is a complicated woman who's frequently unkind to those around her, which stems from lack of self-love/confidence. Some male writers in Newbury's writer's room are stereotypes; most are humanized by movie's end.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Subplot concerning an extramarital affair. Characters kiss passionately and talk about having sex, but everything physical happens offscreen.
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Language includes "f--k," "son of a bitch," "bastard," "goddammit," "p---y," "dips--t," "bulls--t," "d--khead," "hell," "ass," "bloody," "wanker," "oh my God," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), "sucks."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One character smokes; adults drink wine and liquor but don't act drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Late Night is a comedy about a late night TV talk show host (Emma Thompson) who tries to shake up her gone-stale show by hiring a woman (Mindy Kaling) for her all-male writers' room. A subplot involves an extramarital affair, characters talk about offscreen sex, and a couple of characters fall in love, but all viewers see on-screen is kissing. Adults drink (and at least one smokes), but no one acts drunk, and there are no references to drugs. Language is infrequent but includes "f--k," "f---ing," "son of a bitch," "bastard," "goddammit," "dips--t," and "bulls--t." Parents who watch with teens who can handle all of that content will appreciate the movie's positive messages about hard work, courage, perseverance, tolerance, and authenticity. One of the movie's leads is a woman in her 50s and another is a woman of color -- both are relatively rare main character types, and both are given humanized, non-stereotypical, relatable roles in which they get to make many points about ageism, sexism, classism, and racism. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With a sweet romcom beating heart at its center -- even if the "romance" is a platonic friendship between two formidable women -- this movie is predictable but lots of fun. The main thing that sells it is Kaling, who hasn't been this charming since The Office. Improbably handed a network TV writing job, Molly's radiant happiness at this life-changing event is beautiful to behold. "I just really, really love television," she explains through tears; it's easy to picture a young Kaling having the same reaction when she landed her first writing job -- for The Office, through NBC's diversity program. (It's clear that Kaling was taking notes.) "I'd rather be a diversity hire than a nepotism hire," Molly says to snippy head monologue writer Tom (Reid Scott). "At least I had to beat out every other woman and minority to get here. You just had to be born."
Zing! It may be hard for certain types of viewers to resist giving a little fist pump to lines like this and others that skewer (among other things) white privilege, ageism, misogyny, and classism. Through it all, Molly is a fearless underdog who (eventually) -- spoiler alert, but you knew it was coming anyway -- succeeds through talent and hard work in a workplace that's so hostile to women that the women's bathroom is used exclusively by Newbury's male staff for bowel movements. It's a joy to watch. And while it's a shame that Kaling seemingly has to create these types of meaty, nuanced roles for herself and other women, it's great that she does.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.