The High Note

Jacob Richardson | 24/09/2020

Upbeat, fun and heartwarming with a brilliant soundtrack.


Maggie (Dakota Johnson), is the overworked and underpaid personal assistant to Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross) and her demanding manager Jack(Ice Cube). But Maggie aspires to be a producer, and takes liberties with some of Grace’s music in a bid to be taken seriously - only to be knocked back and told she is nothing more than an assistant. As her relationship with Grace starts to unravel, she finds a local talent in David (Kelvin Harrison Jr) and convinces him to let her produce his music. 


The High Note is an entirely unsurprising piece of filmmaking, reminiscent of the Keira Knightley/Mark Ruffalo starrer Begin Again. This doesn’t break the mould in any way. It’s a testament to the charm of the film, the performances and the soundtrack then, that this movie never overstays its welcome; instead feeling like a warm and familiar embrace.


Dakota Johnson is enthralling as Maggie. Passionate, endearing and funny in equal spades, she carries this movie in a way that cements her post-50 Shades leading woman status. Ross, Ice Cube and Harrison Jr are all also on fine form, and even some of the shorter performances from Bill Pullman and June Diane Raphael have flashes of brilliance.


Visually this is a beautiful piece, with idyllic locations, a bedroom for Johnson’s Maggie much to big for her PA salary, and a fashion sense that is out of this world, particularly some of Grace Davis’s outfits. But it is musically where this movie really excels, and the soundtrack for The High Note will have you hopping along during the movie and humming away on the way home. 


The High Note is nothing special. You’ve seen this story a hundred times before. But it is heartfelt, and thoroughly enjoyable.


Playing the same old tunes, but that’s not a bad thing. This is a fun time at the cinema.