Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created byNathaniel R.Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual.All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member ofour teamas noted.

Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!

"The Furniture"

评论 Fun

Nightmare Alley-og and remake

"I think a big reason that it was a huge flop in its day is that it was too far ahead of its time. It's dark inkiness is much more in tune with these dark times. Bradley Cooper has a big hill in front of him since this is without question Tyrone's Power's finest hour on film." -Joel6

"Del Toro directing Blanchett and Collette in the same movie? Count me in." -Pawel


Zainab Jah & Jayme Lawson(Farewell Amor)
Eliza Hittman(Never Rarely)
Costume Designer(Joker)
Cinematographer(The Irishman)
Songwriters(Frozen II)

Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for500...no461 Patron Saints!If you read us daily, please be one.Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference.Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience


What'cha Looking For?
Main| Who's Next to the Triple Crown?»
May 28 2020

Review: The High Note


Are VH1 Movies That Rock still a thing?The kind of movie that the VH1 programming gods connected through the vague thematic tissue of music, casual comfort viewing meant to be consumed on repeated Sunday afternoons, structured flawlessly to pause for snack breaks?It’s as if those gods had carvedThe High Notefrom gold for how much the film embodies that vibe.

The film centers around a music icon Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross) and her assistant Maggie (Dakota Johnson).As Grace attempts another relaunch of old music, Maggie’s music producer ambitions clash against Grace’s tried-and-true formula for success - and the star’s wariness that her assistant might be using her coattails.But Maggie begins to grow her producer chops (and a little romance) with a fledging singer songwriter (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), and struggles to balance her goals with her loyalty to her demanding boss within an uncrackable industry...

The High Notesets up expectations for a dance throughThe Devil Wears Pradadiva-boss-agrieved-assistant territory and then surprises by giving us subtler and more humanly grounded textures.This makes it something tailor made for the coziest of rewatches, if not the most high octane of first ones.What's most exciting about the film is the small measures it takes to avoid overt cliches rather than any kind of reinvention - it accidentally sets a ceiling on its potential for greatness, but mostly spends its time hovering near it.

This comes largely from the characterization of Grace and the relaxed summer breeze of a performance by Ellis Ross.The actress downplays where others might search for more obvious camp, turning out a believable pop queen that never strays into caricature.Ellis Ross’s diva is fun but fully-formed, a woman who is defined as much by her sacrifices as the joy she still has for her artistry.It feels unavoidable to note that the film channels some of her own megastar mother’s energy, which makes it perhaps even more remarkable that the actress leaves the film striking a firm identity for Grace that is all her own.

Ellis Ross also shares an effervescent chemistry with Johnson and the underrated Ice Cube, a delight in a similarly oft-cliched role as Grace’s no-budging manager.Together the ensemble equally calibrated to not overdo the archetypes, which helps alleviate some of the overt familiarity to the film’s plot beats.

Yet all this avoidance of hitting types and story benchmarks as hard as similar films does not mean the film plays modestly.Directed by Nisha Ganatra (with a more consistently controlled approach than last year’s Late Night), the film blossoms exactly as you want it to in its musical sequences.Bolstered perhaps more by its rock and soul history literacy,The High Noteat least can boast three earworm original songs, the best of which is the duet “Like I Do”.I defy you to not hear Ellis Ross crooning the refrain of “Bad Girls” (alas, not the Donna Summer one) for days on end.

Though a third act reveal that might lose some viewers, it does tie all of the film's threads into an emotionally satisfying whole right whenThe High Note’s separate plots begin to feel choppy.It throws a major complication to the narrative and too quickly tidies it, but deepens all of those small-scale unique character notes that come before it.Ultimately, we’re left with a film that functions like much pop music that manages to linger - it does something we’ve heard before, but in a slightly different way.


The High Noteis now available on VOD!

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (4)

Was this movie supposed to be in theaters?If it's eligible for Oscars what chance does Ellis Ross have?

May 28, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterTom G.

Tom -- it was supposed to be in theaters, yes.Best Original Song possibility ?

May 29, 2020 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Excited to see this.The film is actually opening at one my local drive-in theaters this weekend!

May 29, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P.

Kelvin Harrison Jr.is so talented.I hope he's going to give us an Oscar performance soon and a full frontal.Even this last would be okay, not necessarily an Oscar performance

May 29, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterPP

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
作者 Email (optional):
作者 URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: