'High Fidelity': A journey of lost love with a song for every heartbeat, the film has aged like fine wine

The John Cusack-starrer film takes the issue of a breakup and turns it into a journey of self-recognition with music at its core


                            'High Fidelity': A journey of lost love with a song for every heartbeat, the film has aged like fine wine
John Cusack as Rob Gordon (IMDb)

Contains spoilers for 'High Fidelity' (2000)

Stephen Frears' critically acclaimed romantic comedy-drama 'High Fidelity' premiered in 2000 and it brought with it an appreciation of music that some may say is unmatched.

Based on Nick Hornby's 1995 novel of the same name, it followed 30 something Rob Gordon (John Cusack), a record-store owner in Chicago, who has to face the fact that he is growing up. Selling music on vinyl and with intense knowledge of pop music, his life goes downhill when his girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) leaves him. What follows is a journey of deep examination of his attempts at love as he is involuntarily taken into the bouts of adulthood.

In 2018, ABC Signature Studios announced that there will be a gender-flipped reboot of 'High Fidelity', also based on Hornby's novel. The series is set to air on Valentine's Day 2020 and will star its executive producer Zoe Kravitz — only fair since her mother Lisa Bonet played Marie De Salle in the 2000 film. The movie was a big hit for various reasons, and while we talk about that, maybe we can convince you to watch it or even re-watch it.

The film is narrated by the protagonist Rob himself, who recites the stories of his five worst breakups. His monologues are about his need to understand his breakups and they also give an insight to the viewer into how he wants to understand why things fell apart. In the setting of a man trying to make it to adulthood, the narration allows for a more personal approach to a story that takes hearts through a rollercoaster.

For the need for cliche in every noticeable romance, we have to talk about the delivery of the actual storyline. This gives an insight into the mind and heart of a man who is on a path of self-discovery, trying to disable love as a crutch. There seems to be a part of him that tugs him in the opposite direction than the one that's focused on leading him to understand its destructive nature. The audience is able to relate to Rob's admission to his failures as a boyfriend and how he goes about trying to live above it.

Music seems to be an integral part of the film through the journey of lost love. Being the owner of a record store, Rob is always surrounded by music and musicians. The film sees him creating "Top 5 lists" that end up representing the mood of that particular part of the storyline. While most films focus on the background music to invoke emotion, 'High Fidelity' brings the notes to the foreground, in the actual scenes. The music does not skip a beat and fits perfectly into the heart-wrenching narrative. While the music may add value to the storyline, it also gives Rob's character an essential and relatable depth.

A comedy defining the quirks, 'High Fidelity' brings the real in "real life" stories without the forced need to be liked. It's an easy-going film that will have you reminisce old music favorites, expand your knowledge of music and set in the fact that there is a song for every scene of life. A believer that a person can be broken down into a playlist, Rob strums in the fact that we are a collection of what others see of us. Having used music to filter out his immaturity, he's depended on tracks to ease his feelings and that simply does not work anymore. 

The movie manages to take a cliched issue of a breakup and turn it into a journey of self-recognition with music at its core. If you haven't watched it, make sure you do.

'High Fidelity' will premiere on February 14, 2020, and all episodes will be available on Hulu.

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