The High Note sings its way onto Blu-ray and DVD today. Nisha Ganatra’s film is just what the doctor ordered for a breezy summer night. After reaching numerous heights, music superstar Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross) finds herself at an impasse. Still touring the globe playing sold out shows, Davis has not released new music in a long time. Her manager, Jack Robertson (Ice Cube), revels in the easy money and opportunities, such as a proposed Vegas residency, that comes with simply “playing the hits”. While her personal assistant Maggie Sherwoode (Dakota Johnson) thinks it is time for Davis to record new material.
A passionate lover of music, and Davis’ biggest fan, Sherwoode dreams of one day becoming a music producer. When not tending to Davis’ schedule and picking up the singer’s dry cleaning, Sherwoode is in the studio secretly working on remixes of Davis’ iconic songs. Unfortunately, the persistent assistant learns the hard way that breaking into the industry is no easy feat.
After being chastised by Robertson for overstepping her bounds, Sherwoode takes it upon herself to find an upcoming artist, David (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), to groom. However, balancing the demands that come with being Davis’ assistant with the rigors of being a producer for a new artist prove to be more difficult than she could have imagined.
Backed by an infectious soundtrack that will arguably be stuck in one’s head for the rest of the summer. Ganatra’s film is both familiar and engaging. The High Note carries a few similarities to Ganatra’s previous film Late Night. Both works centre around aging women trying to stay relevant in an industry obsessed with youth. It is only through the persistence of younger women who work for them, and idolize them, that these icons find the strength to reconnect with their true self. What makes the film work is the relationship between Davis and Sherwoode. The chemistry between Ellis Ross and Johnson allows the film to rise above some of its more conventional trappings.
The Blu-ray is a little light in regards to the bonus material. There is a slew of deleted and alternate scenes to dive through, but it is the “The Dream Team: Inside the Creation of The Hight Note” featurette that is the most insightful. In the feature the cast and crew talk about what it was like to be part of a female driven production both in front of and behind the camera. Everything from the crafting of the songs to the characters’ motivations are tackled here. There is also the fun “Making a Legend: The Grace Davis Story” which weaves real interviews into a Behind the Music style mockumentary.
The High Note may hum a familiar tune, but it still an entertaining time.
Bonus Features: Deleted/Alternate /Extended Scenes; The Dream Team: Inside the Creation of The Hight Note; Making a Legend: The Grace Davis Story; Like I Do: Original Song Music Video