Exactly a year ago went out Her Smell, fake biopic destroy inspired by an authentic rock star from the riot grrrl era. The diva, played by Elisabeth Moss, under the drug empire mistreated everyone, partners, assistants, groupies and aspirants, and wagged her little daughter like a rag doll. The Voice of Success, released Tuesday, day of national day in disarray, can be considered as its sanitized, mainstream, wise variation, of soul and cool diversity. Only, the two films are in the vein “film of diva”, inhabited by colorful figures, characteristic, on the back, which runs from Twilight Boulevard de Wilder et Eve of Mankiewicz, à Sils Maria or Personal Shopper from Assayas, passing by Nina by Minnelli, and the handover from the filmmaker to Liza, his daughter, via another “mother”, Ingrid Bergman.
Here the story of family and transmission takes place via a new figure of “artistocratic” star, the quintessence of soul queen, Grace Davis, a fictional figure who crystallizes, in the great musical tradition, the pop singer of class Motown and the soul diva labeled Atlantic Records. From Diana Ross to Aretha Franklin. However Grace Davis is interpreted by Tracee Ellis Ross, actress with the play brilliantly shifted, silky, funny, and splendid woman who is also the own daughter of Diana Ross. So much for the inspired mise en abyme and the relief of a complex narrative, which gave reason to dream of the beautiful show rolled up in the psychology of characters with high notes and sensitive chords.
The film should have been sparkling and witty, creaky and deep. He remains a tone below his possibilities, or his promise, always. It is quite rare that the very salient scenario seems better to us than the film it becomes. Playing on a main note, always the same, central and dreary, that of the assistant pro of Grace – Maggie, in the role of which, decidedly, Dakota Johnson, after the reboot of the hell of Suspiria and the various Shades of Gray, barely get out of the pupa of its bland prettiness.
The Voice of Success undoubtedly has moments and some sequences of tac au tac dosed, well sent – singularly the funny exchange between Grace in doubt and Gail, her other home assistant, stupid to the end of the nails (June Diane Raphael, incredible venality assumed), which reminds the film that it could have been inspired more by the causticity of a Let’s sing in the rain new way. Which are not enough to pack the film, because of the character of Maggie, anecdotal, and the weak treatment of music. The original compositions, without conviction, are put there as it can, never incorporated into the desired singing heart of the film, unfit to sublimate it as any musical has the power and the duty to do.
On the other hand all the secondary characters, until the fastest appearance of gummy commercial, are sketched like the best Blake Edwards, special mention to Gail again and to Jack, the agent to whom Ice Cube lends his beautiful gloom. Bonus: the miraculous appearance of Eddie Izzard, briefly unforgettable as a tired overdone singer, this old “new romantic” that the cynicism of time has spared wonderfully.
The Voice of Success of Nisha Ganatra avec Dakota Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kelvin Harrison Jr… 1 h 54.