The High Note

The High Note

The High Note

Dakota Johnson and Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross lead this Los Angeles music biz dramedy directed by Emmy nominee Nisha Ganatra.

Middle-aged pop superstar Grace Davis (Ross) wants to record a new album, but her manager (Ice Cube) thinks that taking a Vegas residency is the right move at this stage of her career. Enter Grace's overworked - and often overlooked - assistant, Maggie (Johnson). Aspiring to become a music producer, Maggie tries to hatch a plan that will see Grace succeed while also fulfilling her own dreams.

2020Rating: M, Coarse language113 minsUSA
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The High Note / Reviews

Stuff

Stuff

The High Note is either a light-hearted and likeable fantasy of the LA music industry, or a white-washed, clueless and resolutely tone-deaf take on the same. Over to you.

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San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle

“The High Note” begins well, ends well and even has a good middle, but there’s one extra plot turn, about 15 minutes before the finish, that’s one too many.

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Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

It’s a predictable but entertaining set-up, buoyed by the sparkling chemistry between Johnson and Ross, and a glossy Hollywood aesthetic that vibes nicely with the film’s energetic pace and smooth soul jams.

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The Washington Post

The Washington Post

Thankfully, “The High Note” is full of funny, charming and diverting supporting performances, especially Ice Cube as the perpetually grumpy Jack; June Diane Raphael as Grace’s catty house manager; and Kelvin Harrison Jr., who delivers an impressive and utterly persuasive turn as a gifted singer Maggie meets in a Laurel Canyon market.

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A.V. Club

A.V. Club

The characters’ overall niceness makes the movie pleasant in the moment—and easy to shrug off as a fantasy.

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Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly

What director Nisha Ganatra (Late Night) mostly settles for is the softest corners of feel-good dramedy; a screwball fairy tale sung in the key of corny.

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Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

There are lip-service feminist nods to the exclusionary nature of the music industry for women over a certain age, especially women of color, and to the boys' club that gets access to the recording studio mixing booth. But this is not a movie that goes anywhere near deep on industry politics.

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IndieWire

IndieWire

Inevitably, the tensions between Grace and Maggie will need to be resolved, but the film limps to a tied-up conclusion with all sorts of boring razzle-dazzle that only distracts from the film’s very compelling central relationship.

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Variety

Variety

Just when you’re sure this tinsel fairy tale can’t get any more glittery, there’s a last-act twist that will leave you going “No, they didn’t!” Yes, they did.

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Slant Magazine

Slant Magazine

Nisha Ganatra’s The High Note is ostensibly about the virtues of taking risks in art-making, of sacrificing the comforts of coasting on past successes for the hard-won rewards of creating something new. And yet the film itself is as formulaic as they come...

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