[ Image Courtesy of Focus Features ]

Film Review: The High Note

16:07 June 08, 2020
By: Fritz Esker

Nisha Ganatra's new drama/comedy The High Note (now streaming) is mostly pleasant, but it doesn't quite fire on all cylinders.

Dakota Johnson plays Maggie, the personal assistant of aging pop singer Grace (Tracee Ellis Ross). Maggie dreams not of being a pop star herself, but of becoming a successful producer. She struggles to make her dreams come true without alienating her boss, who deals with her own career frustrations as she fears sliding into irrelevance. The basic setup is a good one. It's refreshing to see a music story about a character whose goal is to succeed behind the scenes instead of on stage.

The dynamic between Maggie and Grace is interesting. They are friendly with each other, but Grace also has diva-ish tendencies (not as bad as Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, though). The movie probably should have stuck with that relationship, but it also features a sizable romantic subplot for Maggie. There's less chemistry between Maggie and her aspiring singer love interest (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) than there is between Maggie and Grace. Another weakness is a final twist in the third act that feels a little too pat and convenient.

**1/2 Stars (Out of Four)

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