The High Note movie poster
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The High Note
The High Note movie poster

The High Note Movie Review

Available on Blu-ray and DVD on August 11, 2020 (Buy on Amazon)

If you’ve watched the trailer, you’ve seen the movie, but The High Note may be the feel-good movie we need right now. Dakota Johnson stars as the personal assistant to a highly popular but over-the-hill singer (Tracee Ellis Ross) who wants to be something more--a music producer--in this engaging if slight drama that retreads familiar material.

Yes, it’s the story we all can relate to… the story of wanting more when you work for a famous person. And by wanting more, I mean becoming a music producer. Who hasn’t wanted that at some point in their lives?

A blend of other movies you’ve already seen, sprinkled with some romance of course, The High Note doesn’t exactly find a new beat, but it plays to a familiar one, and if that’s all you need, it’s more than enough. 

There’s nothing remarkable about the film; Johnson is good in the role, but this isn’t exactly a challenging role. Ross portrays a diva well, but deep introspection isn’t required. The movie ends more or less exactly as you’d expect, though more on that in a minute. It’s not a film you need to watch over and over again.

But as a safe, inspiring, and easy-to-watch musical drama, The High Note is perfectly fine. Even at nearly two hours in length, the movie feels breezy and fast-paced. Johnson serves as a good protagonist, a likeable individual who simply needs her big break. Most importantly, the chemistry between her and both Ross and on-screen love interest Kelvin Harrison Jr. are great; the dynamics at play make for several entertaining moments.

Its weakest point actually comes in the final minutes, when director Nisha Ganatra (Late Night) and first-timer writer Flora Greeson decide to finish things out with an extra dose of cheese and glitter. The “twist,” if you want to call it that, is unnecessary and made me roll my eyes, though ultimately, by that point, you’ll have already made up your mind about the film.

Ending aside, The High Note is a fun and harmless little movie that maybe doesn’t deserve a sold-out auditorium, but at least a few crowded couches.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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