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High Fidelity

High Fidelity (2000)

tomatometer

91

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 163
Fresh: 149 | Rotten: 14

The deft hand of director Stephen Frears and strong performances by the ensemble cast combine to tell an entertaining story with a rock-solid soundtrack.

84

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 44
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 7

The deft hand of director Stephen Frears and strong performances by the ensemble cast combine to tell an entertaining story with a rock-solid soundtrack.

audience

90

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 209,430

My Rating

Movie Info

A man discovers that there's more to love than a good mixed tape in this dramatic comedy about music and relationships. Rob (John Cusack), an obsessive record collector in his mid-thirties, is struggling to reconcile his adolescent enthusiasm for pop music with adult responsibilities and a more mature outlook. He runs a record shop with his friends Barry (Jack Black) and Dick (Todd Louiso), who are known to drive away customers whose taste in music doesn't match their exacting standards -- which

R,

Drama, Comedy

D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, Scott Rosenberg

Sep 19, 2000

Buena Vista

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All Critics (164) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (149) | Rotten (14) | DVD (22)

High Fidelity, with its knowing take on men, messed-up romance and music, is like one long, hook-filled pop song for the eyes.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

When happiness does arrive in this movie, it has the air not of something that you reach, like your top speed, but of something that you give in to, like baldness or old age.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cusack has ineffable charm, but he keeps it tuned at the lowest possible frequency.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As for Mr. Cusack, there's nothing potential about his stardom any more. He's the self-doubting, self-flagellating, self-ironic soul of "High Fidelity," and he's great.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you can put up with all the archness and self-consciousness--there's quite a bit of both--this is an enjoyable romantic comedy.

February 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Frears has managed for the most part to retain the velocity of the narrative without sacrificing the psychological coherence of the characters.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is still a bit wimpy and sugary, but it's definitely entertaining, and the translation to American accelerates the tempo refreshingly.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

High Fidelity is an extraordinarily funny film, full of verbal and visual wit. And it is assembled with immense skill.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Black is terrific as the obnoxious Barry, who abuses customers ignorant enough to come in and ask for 'I Just Called To Say I Love You', while Louiso is almost as good as the mousy but equally snobbish Dick.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

As a film about males it`s amazingly insightful for women. The soundtrack`s another great plus. I just adored this film.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: sbs.com.au
sbs.com.au

A film pragmatic enough to concede that almost every relationship is doomed, but romantic enough to realize that it's worth it to carry on in spite of that fact, High Fidelity is one of the smartest and funniest romantic comedies of the past few years.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

You'll laugh, you'll cringe in recognition, you'll go home and start recording a new tape.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

This slickly scripted, knowingly played and cameo-strewn comedy stands on its merits as an Alfie for the millennial generation.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

A hip, knowing look at how certain young men put off growing up until they are finally too miserable to postpone it any longer.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

The virtues of High Fidelity are that Rob owns up to his obvious shortcomings, and that Cusack's performance has a self-deprecating edge that muffles the pops and scratches of Rob's personality.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

Speaking to camera for much of the running time, Cusack creates an engaging portrait in male insecurity and selfishness as flawed record shop owner Rob Gordon.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Screen International
Screen International

The result is a romantic comedy that transcends its genre to become the giddy cinematic anthem of an era.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

It's Jack Black who started scoring more film work based on his turn; he's hilarious as a record-store slob who's so contemptuous of the customers that he would just as soon chase them off as listen to their opinions and requests.

September 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

While the second half is a pleasure, it's the first half that's less impressive. I've seen this deadpan narrator with the bottled-up angst so many times that I looked to the lines and the minor characters to see me through.

August 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Easily makes it onto my top 5 John Cusack movies list.

October 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

Funny, neurotic, and charming, but not for kids.

December 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

In his best Zeroes performance, John Cusack traced Rob's realizations and reconciliations with resonant thoughtfulness and wit - the worst-case scenario of Lloyd Dobler after Diane Court was done with him, resigned to life as an old, sad bastard.

September 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

Audience Reviews for High Fidelity

I think I'm the only one who felt this movie was boring and uninteresting.
February 26, 2014
Raajay

Super Reviewer

One of my favorite movies ever. And not just because these characters (especially Rob Gordon) are basically like me. This movie just really nails the culture of obsessive dorks, especially those into music.

Based on a novel, this is a fun, witty, and excellent romantic dramedy.

Rob Gordon is a 30-something record store owner and feverish music collector who, after a bad break up, decides to go through his past relationships to figure out what went wrong, and how to improve his chances in the future.

Along the way he has to deal with his two equally obsessive and nutty employees, and learn to balance his youthful passions with the realities of having to be a responsible adult.

Like I said, I can relate to this movie. A lot. I'm not exactly like Rob, but I do share some of his quirks, tendencies, and general outlook on life. Our tastes in music are similar, too, but not quite the same. I would definitely say I'm somewhat of a snob (unfortunately), but more so with films than music.

John Cusack is perfect here, and this is easily his best and most likable character. He really nails the obsessive music fanatic trying to reassess his place in the world. As his employees Dick and Barry, Todd Louiso and Jack Black (especially Black) are likewise quite awesome, and a blast to watch. They too nail the character type, and provide for many of the film's biggest laughs.

Then newcomer Iben Hjejle is quite fine as Rob's most recent ex Laura, and I'm kinda bummed out that she hasn't really done anything since. Another of Rob's former flames is played by Catherine Zeta Jones, and she is a delight. Then there's Tim Robbins as a nutty yuppie/Rob's former neighbor/Laura's new flame. He's perfectly smarmy and really excels at making you dislike him.

The writing is quite strong, but not perfect. If you want a strong plot, then go somewhere else. This one's pretty light on narrative, and, while it's not the deepest film ever, it does still have some substance to it. For the most part, the film is fairly down to Earth and realistic, and that's both a good and bad thing. I mean, especially if you can relate, then some of this might be a bit uncomfortable to watch. But, it does at least end in a fairly satisfactory way.

All in all, though, this film rocks. As I said, it's a favorite of mine, so I am biased, but still, you should definitely check this out.
September 3, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Very funny, witty and clever comedy after a record store owner's love life. Just after having been ditched by his long-term girlfriend Rob is rethinking his former failed relationships, wondering what is wrong with him. Cusack is often addressing the audience with his thoughts and memories, which gives the film a very special charm. It also helps that Jack Black as coworker at the record store delivers one of his funniest performances to date. There is a lot to agree or argue about for music lovers here who also love to order their records in anything but chronological order or write top 5 lists. It's mostly a film for them, being able to relate to the main character. But even as a romantic comedy about someone who can't let go of his last relationship, this works wonderfully.
July 5, 2012
ironclad1609

Super Reviewer

According to John Cusack's character in the movie; books, records and films matter. That sounds about right. The story of High Fidelity is fairly simple but nevertheless highly entertaining. The performance by Cusack is excellent and the direction is powerful, the script is full of laughs and the result is a very heartwarming comedy drama.
March 8, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

    1. Laura: In fact, I hope we're not in love anymore, to be honest. It would give me a better opinion of love right now.
    2. Rob Gordon: Come on! What, did I beat you? Did I tell you you were a bad person? I mean, what the fuck? What should I have done to make you happy?
    3. Laura: Nothing. Make yourself happy.
    4. Rob Gordon: Oh, I see. Um, wh-why am I not happy?
    5. Laura: Because you're the same person you used to be.. and I'm not.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (6 months ago)
    1. Rob Gordon: ...I agreed that what really matters is what you like, not what you are like... Books, records, films - these things matter. Call me shallow but it's the fuckin' truth, and by this measure I was having one of the best dates of my life.
    – Submitted by Maria Y (23 months ago)
    1. Barry: Oh, that's not obvious enough Rob. How about the Beatles? Or fucking... fucking Beethoven? Side one, Track one of the Fifth Symphony... How can someone with no interest in music own a record store?
    – Submitted by Maria Y (23 months ago)
    1. Rob Gordon: I'm tired of the fantasy, because it doesn't really exist. And there are never really any surprises, and it never really...
    2. Laura: Delivers?
    3. Rob Gordon: Delivers. And I'm tired of it. And I'm tired of everything else for that matter. But I don't ever seem to get tired of you, so...
    – Submitted by Maria Y (23 months ago)
    1. Rob Gordon: Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do's and don'ts. First of all you're using someone else's poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.
    – Submitted by Maria Y (23 months ago)
    1. Barry: Well, it's sentimental tacky crap. Do we look like the kind of store that sells I Just Called to Say I Love You? Go to the mall.
    – Submitted by Maria Y (23 months ago)
View all quotes (11)

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