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HighFidelity

High Fidelity Movie Poster

Introduction

High Fidelity is a 2000 film directed by Stephen Frears and starring John Cusack. The film is based on the 1995 British novel of the same name by Nick Hornby. After seeing the film, Hornby expressed his happiness with John Cusack's performance as Rob Gordon (changed from Rob Fleming in the book), saying, "At times, it appears to be a film in which John Cusack reads my book


Plot

The plot of High Fidelity centers on Rob Gordon (John Cusack), a self-confessed audiophile whose flair for understanding women is less than par for the course. After getting dumped by his current girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle), he decides to look up some of his old flames in an attempt to figure out what he keeps doing wrong in his relationships.

He spends his days at his record store, Championship Vinyl, where he holds court over the customers that drift through. Helping Rob in his task of musical elitism are Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black), the “musical moron twins,” as he refers to them. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things musical, they compile “top five” lists for every conceivable occasion, openly mock the ignorance of their customers, and—every so often—actually sell a few records. Also there are some teenagers, Vince (Chris Rehmann) and Justin (Ben Carr), who skate near his store. In one busy day at the store, the teenagers try to steal some records and he chases them down, making his dislike for them bigger, until one day, he listens to a recording that they did and offers them a record deal, starting his own label called "Top 5 Records". During his off hours, he pines for the lost girlfriend Laura and does his best to win her back.


Analysis

Few movies address love almost exclusively from the male side. Hitch is one; though even there it is how to win a woman over. In High Fidelity, we see a hip young man -- a record store owner (hence “High Fidelity”) -- coming to grips with his past relationships. It is a journey from ignorance to knowledge, which gives him the new strength to commit to a woman he is now involved with.

The movie in essence examines why he has been so pained by love in the past, and therefore why he cannot commit to a woman in the present. He thinks it is simply because they dumped him, and that is why he now feels so insecure. However, when he reviews his previous relationships, he comes to see that he in fact in his own way rejected several of them planting the seeds of the end of the relationship or there was too superficial, i.e. physical a bond. As a result, he reexamines his current romance and sees that he now has a wonderful woman, in contrast to the past. By coming to self-knowledge, he is able to see what is truly important, allowing him to jettison a good part of his ego and fear, and give his heart to a fine, loving, caring, and intelligent woman.

Self-knowledge is a powerful stimulus that enables a person to move to a higher plane in the romantic scale that moves from pure physical relationship to true intimacy to self-givingness and beyond.

Further Comments

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