Today’s Prayer Focus
MOVIE REVIEW

The High Note

also known as “A Batida Perfeita,” “Covers,” “Kalifornský sen,” “L'assistente della star,” “Música, glamour y fama,” “Na topie,” “Personal Assistant,” “Ассистент звезды,” “По ноти,” “天后小助理”
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for some strong language, and suggestive references.

Reviewed by: Hannah Dunbar
CONTRIBUTOR—new reviewer

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Young-Adults • Adults
Genre:
Music Romance Drama
Length:
1 hr. 53 min.
Year of Release:
2020
USA Release:
May 29, 2020 (on-demand streaming video services / Theater released skipped due to Wuhan coronavirus
Copyright, Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast Copyright, Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast
Relevant Issues

Music industry

Music producers

Hollywood, California

Popstars

Aspiring musicians

Personal assistants

Bosses who treat assistants in very demanding and sometimes demeaning ways


Trying to make wise career choices

What is biblical WISDOM?


What is LYING? Answer

Spiritual darkness

Worldliness instead of godliness

Failing to commit one’s life to God, and instead blindly heading toward the final judgment of God on sin

THE FEAR OF THE LORD— What is it? Why is it very important? Answer


Unmarried sexual relationships

SEXUAL LUST outside of marriage—Why does God strongly warn us about this? Answer

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

What is SEXUAL IMMORALITY? Answer

TEMPTATIONS—How can I deal with temptations? Answer


Drunkenness

Father daughter relationships


Music in the Bible

Copyright, Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast Copyright, Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast Copyright, Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast Copyright, Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast Copyright, Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast Copyright, Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast Copyright, Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast Copyright, Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast
Featuring: Dakota JohnsonMaggie
Tracee Ellis Ross (daughter of singer Diana Ross) … Grace Davis
Ice CubeJack Robertson
Kelvin Harrison Jr.David Cliff
Zoe ChaoKatie
June Diane RaphaelGail
Bill PullmanMax—Maggie’s vinyl-loving DJ dad
Eddie IzzardDan Deakins
Diplo … Richie Williams—egotistical producer
See all »
Director: Nisha Ganatra
Producer: Erik Baiers
Tim Bevan
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Focus Features. Trademark logo.
Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast
Copyright, Focus Features, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, a division of NBCUniversal/Comcast

Maggie grew up loving music. Her father is a radio DJ and her mother was a singer. But after graduating college, she ends up landing a job as a lowly assistant for musical legend Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross). As an assistant, Maggie (Dakota Johnson) is often overlooked and taken for granted, despite her spunky and outspoken nature. These personality traits tend to arise mostly in advocation of Grace.

One day, while sitting in on a recording of a reinvisioning of one of Grace’s songs by an obnoxious producer, Maggie stands up for Grace. She then shows Grace a recording she has edited at home of the song. Grace and manager Jack (Ice Cube) are angered by Maggie’s embarrassing outburst but are surprisingly impressed with her production skills. They allow Maggie to produce the track, but are quick to remind her of her place as an assistant and nothing more.

However, Maggie is resilient and not one to give up on her dream. One day, while shopping in the grocery store, she runs into a charming young man named David playing guitar and singing for a crowd. She convinces David she is an established producer working with several musicians. He believes her, and they begin to work together. Maggie has a good ear for music and knows what she likes. David and Maggie are able to work well together, and she soon comes up with a plan to get David noticed by important music types as well as propel herself into her desired position of producer. Maggie attempts to remain professional with David at all times, however the lines of business and pleasure soon begin to blur between the pair as a relationship starts to form.

However, Maggie is resilient and not one to give up on her dream. One day while shopping in the grocery store, she runs into a charming young man named David playing guitar and singing for a crowd. She convinces David she is an established producer working with several musicians. He believes her and they begin to work together. Maggie has a good ear for music and knows what she likes. David and Maggie are able to work well together and she soon comes up with a plan to get David noticed by important music types as well as propel herself into her desired position of producer. Maggie attempts to remain professional with David at all times however the lines of business and pleasure soon begin to blur between the pair as a relationship starts to form.

Maggie attempts to be an attentive assistant to Grace while also focusing on her dream of becoming a producer. Despite her best efforts she is not able to give both clients her full attention and issues soon arise.

Message

Tracee Ellis Ross’ musical debut in “The High Note” is representative of the overall message. According to interviews, the actress has always shied away from singing because of her famous mother’s legendary legacy. Sometimes in life we get comfortable in our routine or doing something that “works” instead of struggling to reach our goals and dreams. In the film, there is a resounding message of community and a common struggle to not be complacent and to chase your dreams. Maggie has an opportunistic job and is warned by her coworkers not to mess up a good thing. Grace is also faced with a similar dilemma. Her producers want her to play her old hits because they are popular and sell, but Grace wants to write new music. When you are comfortable and content, it is often hard to reach for goals that may cause stress and struggle.

Final Thoughts

“The High Note” depicts a dilemma that is familiar to so many people. That is, do we risk what we have in order to get what we desire? It is an upbeat, optimistic film that encourages viewers to be courageous and to value who they are on the inside. The frequent cursing and implied sexual scenes may discourage Christians from viewing this film.

  • Profane language: Heavy— “Jesus Christ” “G*d d*mn” (3) “G*d” “Oh my G*d” (22) “My G*d” “Oh G*d” “d**n” (9) “h*ll” (6)
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Heavy— f-words (2) s-words (15+) “You d*ck” “a**” (7) “Screw you” “screwed this up” “douchebag” “b**by” “son of a b*tch” “bull cr*p” “P*ss off” “p*ssed” “Sucks”
  • Sex: Moderately Heavy— • Sex is implied to have occurred in 2 scenes • There are a few scenes of kissing, with one in particular where a male kisses a female then states, “She is not looking for anything serious.” • sexual comments
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Moderately Heavy— • several scenes of dringing wine, beer, champagne • intoxication evident in one scene • mention of heroin
  • Nudity: Moderate— • woman seen laying in her underwear next to a male covered in only a sheet • woman in sports bra • cleavage • women and men in swimsuits
  • Violence: Minor
  • Occult: None

Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


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Secular Movie Critics
…a thoroughly entertaining, sunnier take on “A Star Is Born” …an escapist film…
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
… satisfying… “The High Note” is a wholly unexpected and utterly enchanting summer movie throwback. …
Oliver Jones, Observer (NYC)
…It's leisurely-paced, relatively grounded and rooted in the specific pleasures of watching good actors play nice people who deal with their specific conflicts as nicely as possible.…
Scott Mendelson, Forbes
…“The High Note” is a character study, it’s a romance, it’s a dismissive look at the music business and a celebration of the power of music, it’s a movie that refuses to go down the path it’s been telegraphing and a movie that pulls out all the stops to get where you figured it would all along…
Steve Pond, The Wrap
…can't decide if it's a behind-the-music-industry drama or a go-for-your-dream fairy tale…
Owen Gleiberman, Variety
…a light and frothy rom-com, predictable and charming in equal measure…
Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
…the cinematic equivalent of elevator muzak—a festival of glam-smug with zero chemistry between any of its three leads…
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)
…Tracee Ellis Ross kills it as a believable soul diva in a harmonious pairing with Dakota Johnson—a shame, then, that a distracting romcom plot ends up so high in the mix…
Ben Travis,·Empire [UK]