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Film / High Strung

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High Strung is a 2016 American-Romanian coproduction starring Nicholas Galitzine, Keenan Kampa, Sonoya Mizuno, as well as Romanian star Maia Morgenstern.

Ruby (Kampa), a dance student, moves to New York to study at the Conservatory of Fine Arts. On her way there she meets Johnny (Galitzine), a hip hop violinist performing in the subway, and there are instant sparks. When Johnny's violin gets stolen, Ruby seeks him out and tries to help him by offering him a chance to participate in a contest that would get him a scholarship, even if Johnny is prejudiced toward what he sees as a clique of spoiled rich kids.


This film includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Alpha Bitch: April.
  • Artistic License Music: As TwoSet Violin point out in this video, the violin acting is generally awful, especially from Johnny.
    • Dishonorable mention goes to the sword-fighting with violin bows - which, given how expensive they are, no sane violinist would consider doing.
    • During the finale, Johnny's violin suddenly sounds like an electric guitar halfway through, even though it's still visibly an acoustic one.
  • Boy Meets Girl: The basic premise - Ruby encounters Johnny in the subway, then makes a connection with him the second time she passes through and his violin gets stolen.
  • Bromantic Foil: Ruby and her roommate, Jazzy. Ruby is the romantic who falls for the Troubled, but Cute Johnny and manages to help him out. Jazzy hits it off with a Tall, Dark, and Handsome biker guy and has a turbulent relationship that almost gets her suspended from the conservatory.
  • Cock Fight: Johnny and Kyle have a violin duel when Johnny shows up at Ruby and Kyle's date and dances with her. Johnny's crew backs him up when the two prove to be evenly matched.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Downplayed. After he wins the String and Dance Competition Johnny gets a salute from the runner-up Kyle who raises his violin bow at him.
  • Nave Everygirl: Ruby is a more mature version of the trope. She doesn't end up treating anyone badly, but she has the typical arc of arriving to the big city, making a friend with a savvier girl, getting in the way of the Alpha Bitch, falling for a guy, having a falling out with him and briefly being interested in the resident jerk instead before making up with her crush.
  • Romantic False Lead: Kyle, who's The Ace violinist at the conservatory. He tries to woo Ruby and she goes on a date with him when Johnny pushes her away. It doesn't last, especially when Kyle doesn't stop trying to bring everyone down.
  • Stern Teacher: Madame Markova, who appreciates Ruby and Jazzy's potential, but will not tolerate any misbehavior.
  • Uptown Girl: Ruby is implied to be upper or upper-middle class, opposite Johnny, who is a penniless immigrant who's at risk of deportation.

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