You rarely hear me fawning over a movie, but when I finally get the opportunity to review a really enjoyable film, well, it's just Great. "The High Note" is such a film. It hits all the right "Notes". It doesn't take itself too seriously, it isn't too heavy, or preachy, or over-wroth with emotion, it just slides right into that "this is fun to watch" category. You might feel like you've seen this film before, but you really haven't, it just feels that way because it's so dang comfortable and easy-going.
Above all that, the film's Highest Note is its music, which throughout is better than almost any recent movie I've seen that's set inside the music industry. The last time I loved a score this much was by Eminem in "8 Mile", and that was a long time ago. The team of songwriter Sarah Aarons and producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins turned what could have been a lame series of tunes into an outstanding showcase for the exceptional vocal talents of both Tracee Ellis Ross' and Kelvin Harrison Jr.
If you didn't know, Tracee Ellis Ross, who has been a popular lead actress in such Television shows as ‘Girlfriends' and ‘Black-ish', is in real life Diana Ross' daughter. Like her mother, she has a wonderful singing voice, but until now hasn't been able to capitalize on it. This film and its wonderful main song "Love Myself" should change that for her.
Here's The Storyline…
Grace Davis (Ross), a 40-year-old superstar singer whose life has become an endless series of moving from one concert to another, is being pushed into a Las Vegas residency she does not want, by both her manager (Ice Cube) and her record label. Her dedicated and overworked assistant Maggie (Johnson), who aspires to become a music producer herself and is re-working some of Grace's classic tunes, thinks it's the wrong move. She believes it's time for Grace to start writing again and record some new material.
When Maggie stumbles upon a talented new singer (Harrison) and convinces him to let her produce his music, a series of events is unleashed that will change everyone's life forever.
Everything in the film echoes what one imagines is the reality of Los Angeles' glitzy music scene, with its flashy personalities, fast cars, expensive wardrobes, lavish parties, big promotional shindigs, and powerful agents. It's all there and just a lot of fun to watch.
Director Nisha Ganatra has managed to somehow capture the life of a superstar in a most engaging way. It's a refreshing change from the destructive behavior we're used to seeing in this type of film. Adding to that, Tracee and Dakota make a great team, playing off each other with such humor and sensitivity, you're just forced to love them both.
My take... "The High Note" is a musical treat, with a lot of easy-going soul to it. I think you might just fall in love with this one. Check it out.