By creating an account, you agree to the Privacy Policy ‘The High Note’: Film Review Dakota Johnson plays a personal assistant and Tracee Ellis Ross is the pop diva she works for in a movie that can't decide if it's a … A romantic subplot includes implied sex, but no more than kissing/snuggling in underwear is shown. The give-and-take between the two has an acutely comic self-awareness. Sign up for our newsletter. It's a shame The High Note is too busy honey-coating its chase-your-dream production to let those messy emotions unravel up in the mix. ‘The High Note’ Review: Music-Industry Diva Dramedy Is a Little Off-Key Tracee Ellis Ross and Dakota Johnson play a singer and her personal assistant in this … She sees working for the icon as a stepping stone to a career as a music producer. The plot turns are easily anticipated. It’s a cool idea: cast Tracee Ellis Ross as a pop superstar very much in the mold of her mother, diva supreme Diana Ross. Serviceably directed by Nisha Ganatra (Late Night) from a formulaic script by newcomer Flora Greeson, The High Note centers on the relationship between headliner Grace Davis (Ross) — cue the montage of Rolling Stone covers — and her personal assistant, Maggie Sherwood (Dakota Johnson). The High Note. It allows you to peer through a window into this world without allowing you to get to know anyone inside. It is the perfect escape from the current world and a great movie night film. Tracee Ellis Ross plays a … In her first major musical role, the Golden Globe-winning star of ABC’s Black-ish acts and sings her role with a blazing ferocity and feeling that are distinctly her own. Weary of giving her boss enemas and cleaning out her closets, Maggie has her own ambitions. Sign up here. Rated PG-13 for cheeky words and sexy bangs. The High Note never reaches any great cinematic heights, but the music is fine and the ride pleasant enough. That’s a disservice to Ross and Johnson, who come to this party ready to play, but seldom get a chance to cut loose. She’s unstoppable. "The High Note" is a lighthearted bit of froth that bears little resemblance to reality. Johnson, doing a variation on her 50 Shades of Gray character minus the whips and chains, shows how Maggie submits to the imperious demands made by Miss Davis for two reasons: 1.) for all its familiarities, there is so much unexpected joy and refreshing brilliance within the film that I can't help but sing its praises proudly. The High Note is a pleasant and unsurprising stroll through the music industry. Rent or buy on Amazon, Apple TV, FandangoNOW and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. But all goes down easy. Sways to its own charming beat, elevated by the ensemble on hand who push the tropes beyond their familiarity. Want more Rolling Stone? As Grace asks Oprah: “When there are no more surprises, who am I doing this for?”. The wobbly story about ambition doesn't match expectations and loses glamour with each passing frame. Get the freshest reviews, news, and more delivered right to your inbox! ‘Lovecraft Country’ Finale Recap: Spells and Prayers and Potions, Oh My! Just don’t expect an imitation. Such a film could have sharpened its claws on any one of the music-industry prejudices that this one pretends to care about, especially those faced by female recording artists. She’s a fan. Every one of them is a blessing, even those (condolences, Ice Cube) enduring trite roles and formulaic setups in a movie that can’t decide if it’s a musical reworking of “The Devil Wears Prada,” an underdog romantic comedy or a feminist arrow to the heart of the entertainment industry. When you purchase a ticket for an independently reviewed film through our site, we earn an affiliate commission. Powered by JustWatch. ‘Fargo’ Recap: Rules Are Made to Be Broken, ‘Tenet’ Review: Christopher Nolan’s Knockout Arrives Right on Time, ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’ Review: Third Time’s a Most Excellent Charm, ‘Personal History of David Copperfield’ Review: Dickens, Served with a Side of Absurdity. While stuck running errands, Maggie still aspires to her childhood dream of becoming a music producer. Counteracting Johnson’s regrettable blandness, a clutch of agile actors in minor roles inject color and life into otherwise small moments. Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross in “The High Note.”. We want to hear from you! Nisha Ganatra ’s “The High Note” is a movie with its heart in the right place and appeal to spare, but it doesn’t quite transcend its story’s predictable course. Nor could any claim remotely like that be made for The High Note. It’s something of a miracle, then, that this hokey tale of an aspiring young record producer and a prematurely written-off diva unfurls almost as smoothly as the vintage soul and R&B that greases the soundtrack: Clearly, the director, Nisha Ganatra, knows that no one can resist a dash of Donny Hathaway.

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