The workplace romantic dramedy is underrated. We all know about the death and resurrection of the romantic-comedy, but fewer eulogies have been written for the slow death of the workplace dramedy (Working Girl, etc.) and the slow resurgence of them in films like Nancy Meyers’ underrated The Intern and Nisha Ganatra‘s surprisingly good Late Night. So it’s fitting that Nisha Ganatra will be coming out with another workplace dramedy, the upcoming Focus Features film High Note, that now tackles the glamorous world of the LA music scene, and the intriguing dynamic of an aging pop superstar played by Tracee Ellis Ross and her loyal assistant played by Dakota Johnson. Watch the High Note trailer below.
The High Note Trailer
Sometimes art imitates life, or at least, the life of your parents. Tracee Ellis Ross’ mother Diana Ross is one of the most famous music superstars of all time, but the actress has long set herself apart from the famous matriarch during her successful acting career. But in The High Note, Ross channels a little of that Supremes energy to play Grace Davis, a legendary pop diva whose age is starting to catch up with her career — she’s over 40 and constantly doing shows that only run through her greatest hits. But rather than resign herself to a Vegas residency, she and her ambitious assistant Maggie (Johnson), who has dreams of music producing, decide to record an album.
This will be Ross’ singing debut in a feature film, something that she was incredibly nervous about, according to Entertainment Weekly. But the role feels incredibly fitting, despite Ross telling the outlet that she didn’t draw from her mom’s experiences.
“In all honesty, none of this is taken from the world I know of being my mom’s child,” Ross said. “The only thing is that I always had the dream of being able to sing. But this character was so beautifully and wonderfully written, and the story really has nothing to do with any of the things that I know from my mom’s experience. Except for the fact that there’s a real humanity to this woman and she’s not a paper-thin quote-unquote diva that the world usually paints larger-than-life women as. She’s a real person.”
I was surprised by how much I liked Ganatra’s Late Night, a sweet and quiet workplace dramedy that doesn’t quite nail the intricacies of late-show writing, but does nail the rich relationship of its two women at the center, played by Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling. I’m excited that Ganatra is continuing to explore that kind of wary mentor-mentee relationship among women in High Note, and Ross and Johnson seem to have a great chemistry between them.
Here is the synopsis for The High Note:
Set in the dazzling world of the LA music scene comes the story of Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross), a superstar whose talent, and ego, have reached unbelievable heights. Maggie (Dakota Johnson) is Grace’s overworked personal assistant who’s stuck running errands, but still aspires to her childhood dream of becoming a music producer. When Grace’s manager (Ice Cube) presents her with a choice that could alter the course of her career, Maggie and Grace come up with a plan that could change their lives forever.
The High Note opens in theaters on May 8, 2020.
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