“High Fidelity” (2000) review

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    by Talk
  • Post Date
    Sun Jan 14 2024
Photo Credit: Courtesy

Written by Sylvia Miller

*This piece contains spoilers to “High Fidelity”

“High Fidelity,” directed by Stephen Frears, stars John Cusack as Rob, a protagonist grappling with a midlife crisis while reflecting on love and the choices that led him to his current state. Jack Black delivers a hilariously memorable performance as Barry, a rude employee at the record shop Rob owns. Lisa Bonet portrays the laid-back and stunning singer Marie De Salle, while Iben Hjejle takes on the role of Laura, Rob's love interest.

Initially, Cusack's character, Rob, almost caused me to turn the television off. He was a jerk. His commentary reflected an incel. His immaturity and pretentiousness, coupled with a reflection on his past relationships marred by misogyny, created a less-than-likable main character. However, Rob's self-awareness about his flaws, acknowledging himself and his flaws added a layer of complexity to his character.

As the narrative unfolded and Rob revisited his past, confronting the women who had rejected him, a transformation occurred. Rob came face to face with the fallibility of his own memories and realized that he was often the one responsible for the relationship failures. His journey demonstrated a mindset shift from doom and torment to one of personal accountability. His pursuit of a mythical love was revealed as an attempt to escape the complexities of his relationship with Laura, shedding light on his obsession with an illusion.

One of the film's redeeming qualities lies in its captivating portrayal of the ‘90s aesthetic and fashion. The atmosphere at the record shop is simultaneously pretentious and entertaining, offering a compelling backdrop to the story. Additionally, as a Chicago native, the setting and filming of the movie in the city added an extra layer of authenticity.

“High Fidelity” is not a conventional love story. Instead, it is a film focused on self-realization. The film delves into themes of love, awareness, neglect and death, presenting a nuanced exploration of the human experience. Despite its flaws, the movie ultimately offers a journey of growth and introspection.