The Hero’s Journey: Late Night

Late Night is a fun movie, and, of course, it has a Hero’s Journey.

Movie: Late Night, starring Mindy Kaling and Emma Thomson


Molly as my hero.

Note: Katherine also has a hero’s journey but I’m sticking with Molly.

Ordinary World–

Chemical plant

Call to Adventure–

Molly wins an essay contest and receives notice of writer’s job because of it.

Refusal of Call–

After starting but early on leaves work to meet charity obligation. She is told that if she leaves not to return.

Meeting mentor–

There are several:

  1. Mr. Unreliable, the writer who invited her to see his stand up routine. I guess he’s a trickster.

  2. Kate’s husband.

  3. Her office mate,

  4. The head monologue writer.

All offer advice for her success.

Crossing the Threshold– Involved writer, starts teaming with others.

Tests and Allies–
  1. Her friend, the stand up, isn’t really her friend.

  2. Monologue writer tells the story of the same friend not being he friend either but it was easier than mortal enemy.

  3. Interviews with other shows and gets job offers.

  4. Moves to new apartment

Approach to Inmost Cave-

Goes to grumpy boss to help the boss overcome her failures. Boss fires her again.

Central Ordeal–

Finds a new apartment and a new job


New job offer based on her talent

Road Back–

Boss asks her to help her improve show and staff.


She accepts and dives in to work.

Return w/ elixir–

Writing staff is mixed race and gender. Molly is on the stage. There appears to be a romance with head monologue writer.

Comments: It’s so great to see The Hero’s Journey applied to a dramedy. Mindy Kaling is a queen!

The elements in this analysis are spot on. Only the Resurrection needs to be expanded upon. It must represent the final battle Molly overcomes on her journey. She thinks all is lost. I need to rewatch this movie, but I’m assuming there is a heavy conversation and Molly nearly refuses to come back.

That would be the Resurrection, and her accepting the job and diving back into work would be the completion of it/part of the Return with the Elixir.

Excellent analysis!

(submitted by Judy Dew)

Liked this post? Follow this blog to get more. 

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Join the WriterSpark Newsletter

Get weekly articles on writing craft, story elements, your creative life, and writing prompts by joining the
WriterSpark Writing Academy newsletter.


Get discounts and special offers.

Get course updates.

Learn about the writing craft.

Share with your writing friends!

This will close in 40 seconds