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Review: The High Note


Drama? Check. Music? Check. Romance? Check.

The High Note delivers all the required elements for a satisfying, mainstream-friendly chick flick, though it could have scored higher if not for a few flaws: there’s a twist you’ll see coming a mile away; it could use more music, drama and romance; and the character development is a bit on the shallow side. But it’s still an entertaining watch in, or out of, quarantine. The movie is reminiscent of The Devil Wears Prada except that it’s set in the LA music scene rather than the NY fashion scene, and it features the overworked personal assistant to a notorious pop diva, rather than the overworked personal assistant to a notorious magazine editor.

Tracee Ellis Ross (TV’s black-ish, Girlfriends) makes her theatrical music debut in The High Note, playing Grace Davis, a famous singer with a slew of Grammys, a Greatest Hits album, and a best-selling live album. Her longtime manager Jack (Ice Cube, Ride Along 2, Barbershop) wants her to play it safe and keep the cash flowing with a “greatest hits live album” and Vegas residency. But Grace secretly wants to write, record and tour with new material. And her assistant Maggie (Dakota Johnson, Fifty Shades, The Peanut Butter Falcon) secretly wants to produce that material. If only she were trusted to do more than fetch coffee, handle logistics and help Grace clean out her closets!

Then Maggie meets David Cliff (Kelvin Harrison Jr., Waves, Luce), a talented young singer who seems content to play community halls, backyards and Bat Mitzvahs. The two hit it off, and Maggie convinces David that she is an actual – not just aspiring – music producer interested in fostering his career. The two make beautiful music together, in more ways than one. Soon thereafter, Maggie hatches a plan to get David in front of Grace so she can hear what a great singer David is and discover what a great producer Maggie is. Things don’t go quite according to plan.

The High Note was scheduled to hit theaters earlier this month but, due to the pandemic, will premiere “at home” instead on May 29 via Prime Video, Apple TV, Xfinity, Vudu, Google Play and Fandango Now. The film’s soundtrack – featuring the original song “Love Yourself” – is being released at the same time.

One final note: Tracee Ellis Ross has a pretty famous mom who also happens to sing. Diana Ross. You’ve probably heard of her.

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