The life of a music legend is smooth and easy, right?
And her personal assistant runs herself ragged making sure that is so.
Well, no and yes. And yes and no.
So it goes in The High Note, a very pleasant 113 minutes of pop drama directed by Nisha Galatea from a screenplay by Flora Greeson.
We find Grace Davis in mid-career, still flying high in her worldwide arena tours to adoring fans, in no small credit to whirlwind personal assistant Maggie Sherwoode, who runs around making sure that Grace’s needs are surely met.
Good thing, because manager Jack Robertson, played by Ice Cube, is more worried about the constant cash flow than Grace’s personal wishes. The next new album? Another greatest hits remix. In fact, original music hasn’t emerged from Grace in a decade. Maggie is at last clued in enough to know this does not sit well with her boss. And the assistant has adored music specifically enough to work on said remixes on her own time. This angers the managers, who puts the assistant in her place and tells her to if she aspires to more, go get her own clients.
Which she does.
It doesn’t work out, and then somehow, it does.
There are some lively and lovely twists and turns on this musical journey.
It seems like this could indeed happen to a mid-career Black woman singer, and maybe a hard-working talented White woman producer, too.
Tracee Ellis Ross fits the star persona quite well, and her chemistry with Dakota Johnson as her assistant works on all places on the spectrum.
Ice Cube sends sparks as the surly manager; Kelvin Harrison Jr. shows off as the talented newcomer, and Bill Pullman adds interesting angles as Maggie’s offbeat dad.
Your toes will tap to the music, it’s easy to root for their choices to be the right ones, too.