When record store owner Rob Gordon gets dumped by his girlfriend, Laura, because he hasn't changed since they met, he revisits his top five breakups of all time in an attempt to figure out what went wrong. As Rob seeks out his former lovers to find out why they left, he keeps up his efforts to win Laura back.
What came first - the music or the misery?
High Fidelity is directed by Stephen Frears and adapted to screenplay by D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack and Scott Rosenberg from the Nick Hornby novel. It stars Cusack, Jack Black, Iben Hjejle and Todd Louiso. Music is by Howard Shore and Cinematography by Seamus McGarvey.
Record store owner and compulsive list-compiler Rob Gordon (Cusack), embark's upon a what does it all mean mission when his latest girlfriend leaves him.
Cusack and Pink take Hornby's hugely popular novel and redirect it to Chicago, with joyous results. High Fidelity is a tale of human love and a love of music, a sort of battle of the sexes with a soundtrack of masculine life. Rob's voyage of self discovery is highly amusing, the trials and tribulations of relationships bringing out a number of scenes and scenarios that ring true, not just tickling the funny bones, but also tugging the heart and cradling the brain.
Away from the doomed love angles it's the music threads that literally strike the chords. Rob and his two co-workers Barry (Black) & Dick (Louiso) worship music and continually indulge in making top 5 lists whilst bickering with sarcastic glee in the process. All three actors are superb, a trio of odd balls bouncing off of one and other with a zest that's infectious, though it's decidedly Cusack's show. A perpetual miserablist who addresses us the audience at frequent intervals, Rob in Cusack's hands garners sympathy, pity and laughs in equal measure.
In the support slots is a ream of talent well in on the joke, beauties like Catherine Zeta-Jones (dropping F-Bombs like they are going out of fashion), Lisa Bonet & Joelle Carter are complimented by the comic skills of Joan Cusack, while Hjejle turns in a wily and womanly performance as the girlfriend who kicks starts Rob's search for meaning. Elsewhere the sight of Tim Robbins as a new age hippy type - with a black belt in martial arts - is so much fun it reminds of what a good comic actor he can be as well.
As with Grosse Point Blank, another Cusack/Pink production, sound tracking is everything, and naturally given the setting of the story there is an abundance of classic tunes to delight in. All told it's a special movie, for all sexes and for all music lovers, but especially for anyone who has had relationship problems. Now what did come first, the music or the misery? Priceless. 9/10
Buena Vista Pictures, Touchstone Pictures by Stephen Frears, Nick Hornby, D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, Scott Rosenberg.
Stars: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, Jack Black.
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music, Romance
Keywords: chicago, usa music record rock 'n' roll record store disc jockey pop record collection
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