THE HIGH NOTE*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film opens with famous singer Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross) performing her hit song “Bad Girl”. Grace’s assistant Maggie Sherwoode (Dakota Johnson) is in the recording studio working on a mix of the song before being sent out for other musicians coming in to use the studio. Maggie then goes out to grab things for Grace, like a protein drink and a personal favorite car as she goes to pick Grace up from the airport.
Grace and Maggie then proceed to go through things that Grace needs to do, like rehearse and meet with others for business ventures. They go to a party where Maggie talks to Grace’s manager Jack Peterson (Ice Cube) and Grace’s friend/former singer Gail (June Diane Raphael) about Grace getting a gig in Vegas, whereas Maggie thinks it’s a good time for Grace to record a new album since she hasn’t done so in a decade. Jack dismisses all of Maggie’s suggestions and essentially tells her to know her place. She later goes home and works on recordings in her apartment, which annoys her roommate Katie (Zoe Chao).
Maggie joins Grace and Jack on a performance tour before heading to Vegas to meet with the Caesar’s Palace manager, Alec (Marc Evan Jackson). He and Jack want Grace to perform there long-term, while Grace wants to keep doing her own thing with music. Maggie manages to call Grace out on a fake errand to get her out of the conversation, for which Grace is thankful. They talk together in Grace’s jet where she notes that she and Jack have been working together since they were younger, and he is just looking out for her.
When she gets home, Maggie joins Katie on a morning run. Katie knows Maggie really wants to be a music producer, but she also tries to make sure she doesn’t expect Grace to be a stepping stone to a promotion. Maggie then goes to a supermarket where she is approached by David Cliff (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.). He asks her opinions on certain musicians, leading to a whole conversation on their tastes in music, until Maggie recommends a song by Sam Cooke. As she leaves the store, she sees David performing that song to a crowd, and she thinks he has a great voice.
Maggie has to mediate between Grace and Jack, as they argue because Jack wants her to do a greatest hits live album, but Grace refuses. Grace is adamant about her decision. They all later go to the studio to meet with a potential collaborator, Richie Williams (Diplo). He presents his own remix of “Bad Girl”, which everyone (but Richie) agrees sounds terrible. Maggie presents her own cut of the recording and insults Richie to his face by telling Grace that she is better than his work. Grace simply tells Maggie not to talk like that to anyone working for Jack again, but she also tells Jack to use Maggie’s cover. Jack then scolds Maggie for what she did.
Maggie and Katie go to a party that they find out is hosted by David. He appears to have a girlfriend but it’s nothing serious. He shows Maggie his record collection and some of his own recordings. She pretends to be a producer and offers David help with improving his sound. The two start to bond over shared taste in music and how she plans to help him work on his music, as well as performing without feeling insecure. Meanwhile, Maggie also bonds with Grace as she continues to take her places and follow her to other events.
The two go to a meeting with studio bigwigs over plans for Grace’s career going forward. She admits that she wants to record a new album, but the others are clearly not onboard with the idea. Jack turns to the head exec and asks his opinion, which leans toward Grace doing the Vegas gig. Grace later goes to the bathroom for a breather until Maggie joins her. Maggie tries to fight for Grace, but Grace feels it works better in her interest to do what the guys say because they don’t feel that someone of her age and race could have as much success with more touring and recording. When Maggie mentions she’s read some of Grace’s new music, Grace gets upset at Maggie for getting into her business and reminds her that she is nothing more than an assistant, which hurts Maggie.
Maggie goes to the studio to record with David, but she breaks down from the stress with Grace. David goes outside to comfort her, as she admits she doesn’t know what she’s doing. David invites her back inside and even gets Maggie to sing backups. The two later go home together. Maggie later feels awkward about it and tries to re-evaluate her professional relationship with David, but he wants to pursue something more romantic.
Maggie is then tasked with finding a replacement singer to open for Grace for an upcoming release party since Ariana Grande dropped out. She meets with another musician, Dan Deakins (Eddie Izzard), but after playing David’s music for Dan, he thinks David should be the opener.
On the night of the party, Maggie comes clean to David about not being a producer and just being Grace’s assistant. Feeling immense pressure with little promise for success gets David nervous and upset with Maggie, and he bails since he feels she was just using him to get herself promoted. Maggie has to break the news to Grace, who expresses the utmost disappointment before firing Maggie.
Maggie moves back in with her father Max (Bill Pullman) on an island. She works at his little local radio station where he acts as the DJ. He does his best to comfort his daughter. Back in LA, Gail, of all people, is defending Maggie to Grace, as she is starting to realize she may have made a mistake in firing her. Maggie calls David to apologize and arranges to meet with him. She then gets surprised when she finds that Grace took the ferry there after getting Maggie’s address from Katie. She admits that she missed Maggie and was too hasty in firing her. She even plays some new music for Maggie until David shows up, at which point it is revealed that Grace is David’s mother. She had wanted the world to know that he is her son but could not at the height of her success. But Grace also thinks it’s cute when she learns that Maggie and David are (kind of) together.
David later performs at a music festival, and then brings Grace onstage, introducing her as his mom. The crowd goes wild.
The last scene shows Maggie and Grace in the recording studio working on some of Grace’s new music, and the two of them sharing a smile.
Maggie Sherwoode is an aspiring music producer who works as an assistant for singing sensation Grace Davis. As she helps Grace with navigating the next step of her music career, Maggie tries to boost her shot at the top by working with a musician named David Cliff. She pretends to be his producer while also developing a relationship with him.
Grace wants to record a new album with new music, but her manager Jack and other execs want her to take a long-term gig at Caesar's Palace in Vegas. Maggie tries to get David as the opener for a release party for Grace, but he backs out when Maggie reveals the truth to him and puts him under a lot of pressure. Grace fires Maggie, who returns home with her dad Max.
Grace realizes she was too hard on Maggie despite the stress she is facing. She finds Maggie's new place and reconciles with her. Maggie had also arranged to meet with David, and it's revealed that he is Grace's son that she had to hide from the public due to too much media attention.
David performs with Grace and receives a wild reaction. Maggie returns to working for Grace on some new music that she wrote.