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The High Note

. Wednesday, 1 July 2020 .

I've been thinking a lot about movies and why we go see them in a cinema. Throughout the long weeks of lockdown and different alert levels here in New Zealand, I found myself really missing going to the movies. I was craving for that salty, popcorn with butter, longing to recline in a plush leather seat and watching a film in a massive screen. Sure, I still watched movies almost everyday, but nothing beats going into a darkened theatre, laughing with random people in your aisle, holding in the need to go toilet so you don't miss anything, undistracted in another world for a couple of hours at least. It feels like it's what we need at times like this - living through a pandemic, an uprising, and a looming recession - a few hours to forget about reality and be so completely engrossed in a film where we know there will at least be a beginning and a concrete end. There's something comforting in knowing how something ends, how good will defeat evil, how true love always wins, how the underdogs always emerge victorious. I often leave the cinema with a renewed sense of hope and that specific feeling of inspiration that makes me feel as though I can handle real life again after that.


To say I was excited to get back out there again and go see my first film since February is an understatement. I went to the New Zealand premiere of The High Note last Saturday night and honestly, I cannot think of a more apt first film to see after lockdown. We really are starting on a high note! It's a film that's got a bit of everything for everyone - there's an excellent storyline, fabulous outfits, a little insight into the lifestyle of a music icon albeit fictional, beautiful songs, witty script, all set against a dreamy Los Angeles background. I haven't even got to the plot twist in the end yet - it rivals that of a Filipino film and I've only ever seen twists of this calibre in one other recent film.


Official synopsis:


Dakota Johnson and Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross lead this Los Angeles music biz dramedy directed by Emmy nominee Nisha Ganatra.


Middle-aged pop superstar Grace Davis (Ross) wants to record a new album, but her manager (Ice Cube) thinks that taking a Vegas residency is the right move at this stage of her career. Enter Grace's overworked - and often overlooked - assistant, Maggie (Johnson). Aspiring to become a music producer, Maggie tries to hatch a plan that will see Grace succeed while also fulfilling her own dreams.



Tracee Ellis Ross is absolutely phenomenal in this role. It's hard to believe that Grace Davis isn't a real music legend after seeing that thanks to her flawless portrayal of Grace and all her little diva moments. Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross had wonderful chemistry and that became quite apparent in one particular scene on a private plane. I don't want to spoil it too much but let's just say I felt the vulnerabilities of both characters and what motivated their actions thanks to that. I also want to mention that meet cute because it reminded me of why I love rom coms in the first place. The meet cute in this film is every music lovers (and The OC fans) dream. It's so LA, it's so cliched, and yet why couldn't I stop smiling long after the scene played out?


It's also worth mentioning the excellent supporting cast in this film. Ice Cube, Kelvin Harrison Jr, and June Diane Raphael, and Zoe Chao really brought this story to life with their performances. If anything, I would have loved to have seen more of June Diane Raphael and Zoe Chao's story arcs as I think they would have added more depth to the film because their relationships with the leads were complex and that could have been explored more.


All in all, The High Note is a feel good film that will have you laughing, listening to the soundtrack after, and believing in the magic of cinema again. And maybe that's exactly what we need more of.


The High Note opens in New Zealand cinemas tomorrow (July 2) and I feel very fortunate to even be typing that out. Check out the trailer here.

I've been thinking a lot about movies and why we go see them in a cinema. Throughout the long weeks of lockdown and different alert levels here in New Zealand, I found myself really missing going to the movies. I was craving for that salty, popcorn with butter, longing to recline in a plush leather seat and watching a film in a massive screen. Sure, I still watched movies almost everyday, but nothing beats going into a darkened theatre, laughing with random people in your aisle, holding in the need to go toilet so you don't miss anything, undistracted in another world for a couple of hours at least. It feels like it's what we need at times like this - living through a pandemic, an uprising, and a looming recession - a few hours to forget about reality and be so completely engrossed in a film where we know there will at least be a beginning and a concrete end. There's something comforting in knowing how something ends, how good will defeat evil, how true love always wins, how the underdogs always emerge victorious. I often leave the cinema with a renewed sense of hope and that specific feeling of inspiration that makes me feel as though I can handle real life again after that.


To say I was excited to get back out there again and go see my first film since February is an understatement. I went to the New Zealand premiere of The High Note last Saturday night and honestly, I cannot think of a more apt first film to see after lockdown. We really are starting on a high note! It's a film that's got a bit of everything for everyone - there's an excellent storyline, fabulous outfits, a little insight into the lifestyle of a music icon albeit fictional, beautiful songs, witty script, all set against a dreamy Los Angeles background. I haven't even got to the plot twist in the end yet - it rivals that of a Filipino film and I've only ever seen twists of this calibre in one other recent film.


Official synopsis:


Dakota Johnson and Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross lead this Los Angeles music biz dramedy directed by Emmy nominee Nisha Ganatra.


Middle-aged pop superstar Grace Davis (Ross) wants to record a new album, but her manager (Ice Cube) thinks that taking a Vegas residency is the right move at this stage of her career. Enter Grace's overworked - and often overlooked - assistant, Maggie (Johnson). Aspiring to become a music producer, Maggie tries to hatch a plan that will see Grace succeed while also fulfilling her own dreams.



Tracee Ellis Ross is absolutely phenomenal in this role. It's hard to believe that Grace Davis isn't a real music legend after seeing that thanks to her flawless portrayal of Grace and all her little diva moments. Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross had wonderful chemistry and that became quite apparent in one particular scene on a private plane. I don't want to spoil it too much but let's just say I felt the vulnerabilities of both characters and what motivated their actions thanks to that. I also want to mention that meet cute because it reminded me of why I love rom coms in the first place. The meet cute in this film is every music lovers (and The OC fans) dream. It's so LA, it's so cliched, and yet why couldn't I stop smiling long after the scene played out?


It's also worth mentioning the excellent supporting cast in this film. Ice Cube, Kelvin Harrison Jr, and June Diane Raphael, and Zoe Chao really brought this story to life with their performances. If anything, I would have loved to have seen more of June Diane Raphael and Zoe Chao's story arcs as I think they would have added more depth to the film because their relationships with the leads were complex and that could have been explored more.


All in all, The High Note is a feel good film that will have you laughing, listening to the soundtrack after, and believing in the magic of cinema again. And maybe that's exactly what we need more of.


The High Note opens in New Zealand cinemas tomorrow (July 2) and I feel very fortunate to even be typing that out. Check out the trailer here.

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