Maggie, a long-time fan with ideas about the music business that are eventually explained, longs to be a producer and continues to exceed her place on the chart. Specifically, he gently pushes Grace to maintain her artistic integrity, reminding the star of her own quote: “When there are no more surprises, who am I doing it for?”
During her rare downtime, Maggie also meets a talented singer, David (Kelvin Harrison Jr., who is coming off a great year with “Waves” and “Luce”), and is also involved in her career. There’s a “Working Girl” quality as she runs between the two, juggling production work and growling, seemingly through thick and thin, complicated by the chemistry she and David possess.
“The High Note” employs a fairly conventional story and songbook, including a view of the music industry that doesn’t stray far from “A Star is Born.” The same goes for the places and glamor of Los Angeles.
He credits much of that to Ross, as the “Black-ish” star reverses his mother’s path from the concert stage to the screen, making his musical debut cleverly making his own singing, creating an image of stardom that is vanishes. In what amounts to a team of artists with famous parents, Johnson also portrays Maggie as someone whose appreciation of music drives her professionally, while also becoming the foundation of her relationship with David.
The lady does not sing the blues, but in addition to the original songs, the soundtrack features many classics, such as Harrison singing “You Send Me” and “Let’s Stay Together”. There are also cameos for Bill Pullman and Eddie Izzard in small but significant roles.
Practically speaking, the film joins the list of movies whose theatrical debut was affected by the coronavirus that would likely have had trouble making a lot of box office noise anyway.
Something that avoided that pressure, “The High Note” is a joyous way to kill a few hours. Granted, it’s more of an opening act than a headliner, but that simply makes your on-demand digital residence feel like the place where the movie legitimately belongs.
“The High Note” is available to order starting May 29. It has a PG-13 rating.