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The High Note; May not be Music and Lyrics, But At Least It’s Cute. Grade: C+


The High Note tells a story about a woman named Maggie (Dakota Johnson) whom happens to be an assistant to famous pop singer Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross). When it comes to music Maggie knows everything, as she lives and dies off music. In fact Maggie would like to become a producer someday. As Maggie was impressed Grace used her production on her live album, she now believes there is promise for a future as a producer. Unfortunately Grace’s manager Jack (Ice Cube) wants Maggie to go find clients on her own, instead of stealing Jack’s. So Maggie found a promising young talent David (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) while shopping for popsicles, as Maggie hopes this will be her ticket into becoming a successful producer.


The Cinematography was fine, wasn’t amazed by any of the shots of this film, looked like a standard studio film. The Score was solid, the music moments of this film I found very relaxing, as they sounded good. The cast all in all was fine. Dakota Johnson playing Maggie was fine, not as good as her roles in Suspiria, Bad Times at El Royale, or last years Peanut Butter Falcon. But certainly better than her Fifty Shade trilogy performances. It’s a performance where you’re not impressed by, but it gets the job done. Maggie is by far the best character in the entire film, as there is a wide amount of interest behind this character. Her story of wanting to pursue her dreams of becoming a producer is the reason why this film is watchable, we remain invested in the story because of her alone. Maggie is a solid protagonist because we would like to see one that works extremely hard, that is extremely nice, as we want to see her achieve the goals she seeks on achieving, so she can live a better life moving forward. Grace Davis played by Tracee Ellis Ross was ok, I’m honestly more underwhelmed with the character itself. I will say that the conclusion of this character is the one redeeming quality. Besides that whenever the film brings back attention on Grace, I suddenly say, “Oh yeah... I forgot about her.” There are actually ways of making Grace a more complete and developed character, where it can be interesting. The problem is this film rushes the entire process, as nothing felt earned. Also there are moments where they could’ve at least improved Grace’s desired motivation, in wanting to go forward making a new album, instead of going by Jack’s plan. For example there is a scene where Grace is at a taco trunk, where she was greeted by fans. One could’ve made this scene a lot better, by Grace’s fans trying to influence Grace into creating new material, as they would like to see where the growth is behind this pop star since her last release. But like everything with Grace Davis... It’s glossed over, as it didn’t really provide an impact on the character, that you hoped for.


David played by Kelvin Harrison Jr. played a solid performance. Even when Kelvin isn’t impressing us with his great performances in indies, he still manages to bring the audience a nice smile. Kelvin shows off his vocals, as it looks like he was having a nice time taking a break from unleashing his raw talent like we are used to seeing. Ice Cube playing Jack honestly had a pretty dull performance wise, character wise... Eh. For some reason this film tries to attempt comedy with Jack, as he mispronounce words... I felt a great amount of cringe watching those lines take place. Also at the end of the film Jack is more sincere and caring of the well being of Grace Davis, however majority of the film he’s only caring about his own well being, wanting Grace to take on a retirement route so he doesn’t have to do much anymore. It leaves me confused as to how this character changed over the course of time?!


Besides a couple characteristic flaws, I do have a couple more flaws to discuss. I felt the ending was a little drawn out a bit. Also the marketing of this film is very misleading. What I thought would be a film about Grace Davis wanting to make an effort, in making a comeback was honestly not what I got at all. In fact Grace Davis is basically shadowing the real star of this film: Maggie. This is honestly Maggie’s film, where there is actually character development, as she’s easily the film’s main interest. Even the poster of this film is misleading... So it does bring me a little disappointment knowing I didn’t necessarily get what I was lead on to get out of this film.


The High Note was kind of... Cute. A simple tale, with a nice little message, as it kept me somewhat satisfied for an hour fifty plus minutes. Sure many things could’ve improve as this would’ve easily gotten a solid rating, however it still made me smile as I least enjoyed the experience. One thing I didn’t expect at the end was the twist... Thought it was a cool twist, it does explain why David wouldn’t take his shot at Grace Davis’ album release party. This is a type of film that I would’ve rather watched in theaters, as I’m gathered around a group of happy middle aged moms... See this is why films should be in theaters, I enjoy these feel good vibes. Plus this is actually a nice date movie to watch too.


Overall, The High Note is a perfectly enjoyable average little film. I actually recommend checking this one out, couples and moms will enjoy this little flick. If you want a better recommendation: Music and Lyrics... Now that movie is DA SHIT! -Mitch Smietana


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