Music seems to be in the air with Hollywood these days. With films about people you know (Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, and Judy) as well as people that are totally made up, but have a song in their heart (A Star is Born, Yesterday, and Wild Rose), with so many to choose from, I bet we can find a song for you. While all of those films have one thing in common, which is great music, only Judy and Wild Rose features a single woman as a central character. The High Note though is about to take that higher as it puts two women in the driver’s seat for this musical adventure.
Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross) is a star, who has ruled the music world for decades. She now spends her time performing all her hits to sold out shows across the country, as she has started what seems like the downward slope of her career. Maggie (Dakota Johnson) is a music student, who three years ago took the job as Grace’s assistant, but along the way has discovered a new dream on who she wants to be. While setting Grace’s schedule she has on her own time help produce Grace’s live album, something her employer is not aware of. Something happens though in only a way it could in a movie kind of way. While shopping for groceries she meets David (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) who sparks a conversation over Phantom Planet’s 2002 hit California, and of course it works. David though is not just a guy at a grocery store, you see he can also sing and soon Maggie is convincing David to let her produce his music. Things seem to be going great and even as Grace’s long time manager Jack (Ice Cube) can’t put a damper on all the good that’s happening. Worlds though soon collide and with it comes a discovery of what a small world we live in.
The first step to any film about music is that the music has to be good, and with The High Note, all the notes are in the right key. Add to the mix a cast, led by Johnson that never misses a beat and fits the part, well almost everyone. While Ellis Ross and the always great Kelvin Harrison Jr. are as good as Johnson, adding to their performance are the vocals the lend to the songs they sing, Ice Cube interestingly enough is the one character that just feels a little off. Maybe it’s what I am used to him playing, but him as a grumpy older guy didn’t always cut it for me. He is not bad, it’s just not my preferred way I like to see Ice Cube. The music world is tough, and even tougher for an aging star, something The High Note tackles, but if that doesn’t make you feel good, the music throughout the film is sure to do the trick and it’s still a nice film that. At times it might miss a few steps, but it recovers nicely and nails the chorus and will for sure have you tapping as the beat goes on.
The High Note is currently streaming on VOD