One of the worst sins you can commit in Hollywood is turning forty. Worst, it’s the death knell for women. Rather than celebrate both a full life and a vast amount of experience, veteran actors are moved to the side to make way for the youth. Nisha Ganatra’s The High Note finds the proper balance between youth and maturity.
Maggie (Dakota Johnson) is the personal assistant to the highly successful pop singer Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross). Davis loves to sing, tour, and create, but with the sluggish sales of her last album, her manager Jack (Ice Cube) wants to put her on the shelf, i.e., a Las Vegas residency.
In the meantime, Maggie is absorbing as much experience as she can from her time with Grace even if she can be a demanding, perfectionistic diva at times. It’s Maggie’s dream to be a music producer and takes the initiative to re-mix Grace’s recent live album. Now are story dynamics are firmly in place.
“…Maggie is absorbing as much experience as she can from her time with Grace even if she can be a demanding, perfectionistic diva at times.”
Maggie is young and inexperienced but has a natural talent as a producer. She doesn’t want to use her relationship with Grace to further her career, nor would Grace allow that to happen. But it would be great if she could. Grace, on the other hand, only sees Maggie as the hired help, but Maggie is there to prevent her from becoming a Las Vegas museum piece.
There’s also a boy, David (Kelvin Harrison Jr.)—a local performer that catches Maggie’s ear. He’s good, he can write, and she can make him a star. So, she convinces David that she’s a legit producer and uses her connections as Grace’s assistant to rent a studio and hire musicians. They’re also very flirty with one another. This couldn’t possibly become complicated, right?
"…Tracee Ellis Ross can actually sing…like it was in her genes."