The High Note
review by Bobby Blakey
There have been a surge of music themed films lately from biographies like Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody to just using music as the catalyst of the story like Blinded by the Light. The latest, The High Note is not taking that same approach, but features a fictional story of a singer starring Tracee Ellis Ross who is not only a highly successful actress and star of the series Black-ish, but also daughter of the late Diana Ross and cos-stars Dakota Johnson, Bill Pullman, Kelvin Harris Jr and Ice Cube. Could this film hit the high note on stage or will it fail to make the charts?
The High Note follows the story of Grace Davis, a superstar whose talent, and ego, have reached unbelievable heights, and Maggie, her overworked personal assistant. While stuck running errands, Maggie still aspires to her childhood dream of becoming a music producer. When Grace’s manager presents her with a choice that could alter the course of her career, Maggie and Grace come up with a plan that could change their lives forever.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this film as I am a fan of the cast, but the trailer just never really sucked me in. I can say that I was pleasantly surprised. The story isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, but the execution is well done and feels fresh despite its familiarity. Dakota Johnson is front and center here and does a good job with bringing this character to life. She is an average woman with talent and ambition, but they don’t try to bring all the usual clichés to make it work. Ross gets her time to shine in both singing and performance as she fully embodies this superstar which comes as no surprise since she already has it in her genes.
Ice Cube is fine here, but a pretty toned down character who is all business and serves as the go between in life and career. I didn’t pay attention to the credits at the beginning of the film so didn’t know Kelvin Harris Jr was here who was
so great in Waves. I didn’t even recognize him until the end of the film. He is great here as well getting the chance to take on a new role and stretch his vocal muscles as well. There are some twists and turns here that were pretty predictable but still worked nonetheless. I enjoyed this move more than I thought I would that brings to light both the struggle to find stardom and keeping it all while finding your own voice for it all.
This release not only includes the film but also bonus content including deleted scenes, music video, and featurettes taking you behind bringing this film to life. Step onto the stage and grab your copy of The High Note available now on digital and then on Blu-ray and DVD on August 11, 2020.