Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is a 50 something year old woman living in NYC with her husband Walter Lovell (John Lithgow) who suffers from neuropathy in his old age. Katherine is the oldest and only long time running woman late night television host of Tonight with Katherine Newbury. She has no friends, works all the time, and has several writers on her show all of which are white men and she hates women. Over the last decade on late night TV her show has been slumping in the ratings and the new President to the company, Caroline Morton (Amy Ryan) had to make a choice. This season is Katherine’s last season on the air and Caroline is considering replacements.
Katherine knows she has to compete with other late night shows but she has always been stuck in her own groove that is until she finally hires a woman writer, straight from the chemical plant of Pennsylvania, Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) gets the job. Why? Well she was in the right place at the right time and she’s also a minority. After a number of Emmy’s and Golden Globes in her past changing Katherine and her show will definitely be a chore but she knows something has to be done so she even hired a female publicist. Katherine is far from easy to get along with and fires about as many people as Donald Trump in a week. Yet jumping hurdles some good some bad Molly makes an impression and starts to break the ice. Even though the tin lady has found her heart she is still on her way out and Caroline wants her to introduce her replacement Daniel Tennant (Ike Barinholtz) but things did not go as planned. Later thanks to agent Billy Kastner (Marc Kudisch) news broke that Katherine had an affair with one of her writers. Now in hotter water than before Katherine begins to reflect on her life and the mistakes she has made towards people and discovers sometimes the best answers to some tough questions is the truth. The best way to surround yourself is with people who care to be honest and in one year Katherine was finally living in a world of diversity.
I wanted to see this film because of my career as a talk show host in hopes of getting some pointers and even though it is television versus radio I did just that. We live in a world of diversity which is fantastic and the saying that life is short and when you think of it it truly is so I find that you can never please everyone but as long as you try and in the end please yourself for being honest that is what matters. This film is nicely directed and written but it plays more so as a dramedy than a comedy. There are many lessons to learn along the way, situations to take notice of and reflections of situations that may mirror your own life so for that I liked it but if you’re looking for roll out of your seat humor this is not it.
I am a fan of Thompson’s and believe she brought justice to her character of one woman playing in a man’s world. Kaling to me is always likeable and once again is just as so in this role that she seems to downplay slightly. Lithgow is king and has yet to disappoint me in any of his roles and although his part is small he plays it large. Ryan also has a small role but plays a good boss lady. All of the actors playing writers each have their own personalities but I think some of the real comedy got lost there because they were underutilized. Overall a good film filled with life’s lessons that maybe hopefully will rub off on some of the old time Katherine Newbury’s out there.