The High Note is not Surprising

July 11, 2021 By derrick
The High Note

Despite its four-star rating (Rotten Tomatoes) and such similar reviews from critics. The High Note is quite a ride and full of humorous freckles of pipe dream from an unrealistic starry eyed unexperienced music assistant trying to call the shots and challenge conventional years of experience. She makes quite a mark of course but hey, we all know it’s fiction. Apart from being a musical it’s also tottering on the helms of being tagged as an inspirational movie, if you view it with a hint of sarcasm.

The movie starrs Tracee Ellis Ross as Grace Davis a hit and generational musical goddess (drawing eyebrow raising similarities to Diana Ross in a way) and grossed a total of 2.5 million USD on the Box Office. Though the lime light is our queen of pop, the movie is actually about an underdog ‘Maggie’ played by Dakota Johnson. Musicals with the likes of Lalaland, A Star is Born and The Greatest Showman are purely fixated on telling a story about the protagonist in view so here we have Director Nisha Granatra who directed movies like Late Night and Cake Bringing something quite new to the table. Only rather off beat in some kind off way. The musicals are great though and the whole grandeur of Grace Davis as a Pop star was pulled off quite okay, not like the rushed and forced portrayal of Jack Malik in the musical movie, Yesterday whom you just couldn’t connect with. Ed Sheeran even had more regality in the musical.

The High Note talks on Racism in Music.

We can’t say the movie questions sexism in music or if it was intended to because the whole pitching of an idealistic dreamy eyed assistant against an experienced portrayed rival of the sorts is the first grounds for such but if you’re in it for the fun it’s almost easily missed. The more glaring is the one of racism ‘Grace Davis’ herself who is of course a woman firstly, reference to the first paragraph and is dominating in a field normally titled by white males. There’s even a scene in the movie where she herself even goes on a full rant about this. This could be the most ‘feel-alive’ moment in the whole movie as we are painted with a daunting picture of the pain beneath the glory even though there’s the all-familiar tinge of fake friends, alcohol and depression normally following the lives of such stars, striking similarity to the musical movie Behind the Lights starring Gugu Mbatha Raw. The rest of the movie is just trying to breakthrough elusive muddy waters treaded on of course by Dakota Johnson.

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The High Note

Though with a hint of sadness and family drama, the movie is actually tinged with lots of lighthearted comedy. The core of it has a taste of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. A little romance with intertwining of coffee shop meetings to karaoke it has a raw sense of soul that brims underneath but is rather stifled as the plot is quite timid and though it delivers well, to a little extent. The High Note could be politicised to war against racism and the gender discrimination faced in the music industry if that is your harnessing point which though not the sole purpose of the plot, does quite well to answer. Racial movies in times have a musky tinge of the feels, regards to the series Blackish, the movie The Hate You Give and even going out on a limb I dare say Harriet because it takes the whole thing out of the conventional light of music and mainstream media. The High Note could be political, or just seen as it was meant to be, a fun light hearted comedy.

See the trailer

Derrick Anyanwu is a creative writer.

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