Tag Archives: Emma Thompson

Late Night – Review

Comedy-drama films are a great little subsection that are struggling. In between movies juggernauts such as Avengers: Endgame and small independent movies, mid-level movies that are perfect family watches seem to be struggling.

Hopefully, latest venture Late Night can change the curve.

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Late Night revolves around Katherine Newbury, a legendary talk-show host and pioneer in her field, being the only woman in the profession. However, her ratings are low and the head of network is firing her. In order to turn this around, Newbury demands more women in her writing team to shake-up the status quo. In comes Molly Patel, a chemical plant expert with a penchant for writing comedy. This is much to the chagrin of the other male writers. As the tough Newbury battles down on Molly, as well as the bullying from her co-workers, can she survive this new position?

Directed by Nisha Ganatra and written by Kaling herself, the film is a smart and ultimately hilarious movie about two women at two ends of their respective professionals, learning to work with one another. There is a lot of rapid-fire lines that truly make you laugh but there is absolute heart . It’s a very droll piece that gets to the soul of the characters.

These are played perfectly by Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling. Thompson brings a brilliant charisma to Newbury whilst still balancing her cold aloofness as the talk show host learns to grow. As always, Thompson digs into the root of emotional turmoil for Newbury and fleshes her character out greatly. Kaling makes a good accompaniment, crafting her own path as the sweet but naïve Molly. Though you’d have to suspend true belief (as with all comedy films in this ilk) that her character could make a quick progression through her career, she is still an carefully written and performed character with all the charm of Kaling.

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Kaling and Thompson have loads of chemistry together which makes for an extremely watchable film. It’s sweet and tender, even if the movie may lag a little bit. Late Night particularly struggles when it tries to stick it’s highest emotional moment and has a seriously underdeveloped somewhat antagonist who is thrown away after he commits the worst act.

Still, Late Night is an endearing comedy that has all the right laughs. You’ll root for all the characters including it’s sweet romantic elements that aren’t necessary but still add a layer to the proceedings.

On a final point, it is great to stress how superb the outfits are here. Whilst this does lean more towards Emma Thompson’s outfits (they are literally gag-worthy), Mindy Kaling also has great   It is a phenomenal use to convey characters through their clothing.

OK, actually, one more final point – wouldn’t this make a lovely accompaniment to the highly underrated movie The Intern?

Late Night is in cinemas now! 

The Children Act – Review

There have been a lot of movies lately about religion and how religion can sway someone into doing the wrong thing. Similarly to recent drama Apostasy, The Children Act looks at Jehovah’s Witnesses and how their beliefs can nearly kill.

Directed by Richard Eyre and based on a book by Ian McEwan, The Children Act revolves around Judge Fiona Maye who has been swamped with loads of life altering cases. Her husband, miffed at her isolating behaviour, has decided to conduct an affair – telling her before he does it. After kicking him out, she is handed a case of a young Jehovah’s Witness boy refusing a blood transfusion because of his religion. With her marriage falling apart, Fiona becomes too invested in the case – but is there more going on than meets the eye?
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The Children Act is not the film you expect it to be and it is all the more better for it. The story starts in the usual dramatic way – everything you were given in the trailer – but shifts direction and at a fluid pace. It flows through this strange and unusual plot, twists in an unpredictable way. The plot thickens with many different emotions and elements. To underline the drama and enhance the poignancy, there is well-tuned humour within the film, especially in Emma Thompson’s frank delivery.

Why yes, the main focus is about this young boy and his somewhat manipulation into death, but it also turns into a movie about agency and life – how important it is to own who you are.

Speaking of Emma Thompson is a brilliant lead for this. She is a commanding force that drives the drama. She has this air of inhibiting a character; from the way she totters around without shoes whilst at home, a soft kick of a suitcase, or the fast and focused way she delivers verdict – it is very precise and amazing to watch. Thompson knows when to let Maye be calm and collect yet knows how to make her vulnerable – even in the moments where she has to keep regal and professional. It’s one of Thompson’s best performances (but, then again, when has she ever been bad?)

Stanley Tucci as Jack, the wayward husband, is the biggest complaint here. First of all, I understand that there is frustration and abandonment for him, but, also, he is portrayed as a petulant child. That’s may be how Tucci intends to play him but there is such a flagrant selfishness that keeps you at a disconnect with his side. He begins to feel completely unnecessary if only for a plot device to drive Fiona out of sync. Tucci is great but his character is not.

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Fionn Whitehead, star of Dunkirk, seems to fumble a little bit with a more wordy script. That being said, he has a lot of promise to be a proper lead actor but he needs to evolve better for an arch of this scope.

An unexpected drama that is sensitive with the issues it is trying to convey, The Children Act is less about religion verses medicine but about life verses death. It’s about looking at love and the world through youth and appreciating beauty whenever and wherever you can. The Children Act is a tough film to get your head around, but brilliant one to mull over.

On a final note: There are definitely seasonal movies. Summer blockbusters, spring animations, winter warmers. The Children Act is definitely an autumn film and is released at least a month too early.

The Children Act is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!