‘High Fidelity’: Zoe Kravitz brings Rob's character into the modern era without missing a beat
Kravitz shines in the role, taking viewers on a journey of self-discovery that teaches us to own up to our past mistakes so we can break out of self-destructive patterns
Spoiler alert for the Hulu series 'High Fidelity' (2020)
If you had to list out your top five heartbreaks, in chronological order, who would they be?
For Robin ‘Rob’ Brooks, No. 5 is just about walking out the door. As she tearfully reminds us of how horrible this moment can feel, we jump one year forward. And that’s where things kick off.
As with the movie and book before it, the show does one thing very well: Progressive disclosure. Instead of giving us all the details upfront, we get the story in bits and pieces through several fourth-wall-breaking monologues from Rob.
Since we rarely have all the facts until the characters themselves have accepted and processed them, we're often left wondering what could possibly have gone so wrong that they go from being giddy and in love to unhappy, single, and totally alone in a bathtub eating Indian food on Rob's 30th birthday. But with each new reveal, our perception of characters and situations shift as they come to terms with their own actions and ‘face the music’, as it were.
‘High Fidelity’ takes us on a journey of self-discovery and accountability, as its lead characters own up to their own self-destructive patterns and figure out how to break out of them. It’s a story that reminds us that sometimes, we need to grow up and make tough decisions.
But ‘High Fidelity’, despite being about breakups and adulthood is, at its core, a story about music and how it defines and amplifies those painful moments in our lives. The movie starring John Cusack gained a cult following just as much for Cusack’s highly relatable ‘Rob’ as it did for the banter about music that underscores every scene.
One of the biggest issues with following a classic like that is having to live up to those expectations. And following an act like Cusack is no easy task. Yet Kravitz manages to give us a version of ‘Rob’ that is so charming you often forget how much of a mess she can be.
So even as she bounces around from barely-legal musician Liam to nice guy Clyde to currently-engaged ex-fiance Mac and back around, and even as she reveals that she cheated on Mac the day they got engaged, and even as we see she’s too busy monologuing about her own issues that she misses out on important things happening in her friends' lives: It’s somehow really hard to hate her.
And even with the very low 9% of a chance she has left with Clyde at the end of season one, we’re still hoping she figures it out and she finally does not find herself being dumped. Again.
The show also does a fantastic job of updating itself to match the times without that affecting the music. So while you get some important discussions about supporting problematic artists and some glimpses into racism and misogyny all presented through a diverse cast, you also get some classic tunes from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Lauryn Hill and David Bowie. You also, however, get some newer music to tie it all together, including a track from Peachy and Shane — a duo of young, aspiring musicians on the show.
All-in-all, the show is a solid reboot that, despite taking an episode or two to find its stride does manage to tell its own story without getting lost in the shadow of its predecessors. If you go in expecting a reboot that's exactly like the original, you're going to be disappointed. But if you're looking for something inspired by the movie and book yet not quite the same, you'll enjoy this one.
'High Fidelity' premiered on February 14, 2020, and all episodes are now streaming on Hulu.