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High Fidelity Reviews

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Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

January 15, 2008
I think I'm the only one who felt this movie was boring and uninteresting.
cosmo313
cosmo313

Super Reviewer

April 16, 2007
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.
Jens S

Super Reviewer

June 14, 2006
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.
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

March 5, 2012
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.
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

November 5, 2006
An under achieving record store owner decides to contact a list of old girlfriends when he is dumped yet again to find out why he is doomed to be alone. Being EXACTLY the kind of anally retentive taste Nazi you see working in Championship Vinyl, I feel I have to point out that American remakes of British stories are almost without exception, a TERRIBLE idea. But somehow, the relocation of Nick Hornby's celebrated novel to Chicago actually works quite well. It's partly because the characters are so well observed that it transcends any cultural differences there might be and of course, a screwed up relationship is a screwed up relationship wherever you happen to be on the globe. It also helps that John Cusack was pretty much born to play the role of Rob and his exasperated rants and hilarious music snobbery will be familiar to any male of a particular demographic as will his sidekicks, played to perfection by Jack Black and Todd Louiso. Inevitably, as the story is written by a man there is a lot less insight into the female characters and the plot in general is little more than the usual rom-com fodder with a Generation X spin so when the story concerns itself with his current relationship issues, it's a lot less interesting...but that just may be the Rob Gordon in me talking. The very funny observational comedy works a treat even if the plot isn't quite there, but it's good fun spotting all the people you recognise from your own life in it!
Matt G

Super Reviewer

January 23, 2011
'High Fidelity' is an interesting early 2000s relic. During my weekly library shopping (in which I pick out ten movies I've never seen, have a few friends over, and watch as many as we can until we fall asleep), I stumbled upon a movie called 'High Fidelity', which wasn't that interesting to me until I saw that John Cusack was in it. I can proudly say that I am very pleased that I watched it because it is a very charming piece of work. Director Stephen Frears ('Prick Up Your Ears') chose a unique style of story telling, much like Woody Allen's 'Whatever Works', the main character takes moments in the film to directly talk to the camera to basically branch out his problems. I find that to be an interesting technique that is really enjoyable and relatable. The fact that it takes place in an old record store makes the film great simply because we are brought back to all of the old music that we had growing up with, but still including modern humor to please the newer filmgoers. As a lifelong fan of John Cusack, he is at the top of his game as usual. I believe Cusack is the sole being that can perfectly play a slacker (multiple times), and aside from looking exactly like Alan Rickman in 'Dogma', he gives a magnificent performance. The funniest thing about it is the film revolving around Cusack's "top 5" ex-girlfriends, and I hope I'm not the only one being slightly uncomfortable that his sister Joan Cusack plays one of them. Aside from that creepy aspect, we have a hell of a cast playing these women. Even though it is a pretty great film, I was disappointed at some moments, primarily that some scenes have the tendency to be prolonged as they attempt to entertain us with unnecessary ad-lib. Although that does have quite a bit of a big effect on the overall outcome of the film (and my rating), I still found this to be an extremely charming and effective film. Even though the laughs aren't too memorable, that is made up from a witty script, stylish direction, as well as a top-notch performance from John Cusack, making 'High Fidelity' a solid film, that I'll definitely revisit in the future.
Jennifer X

Super Reviewer

December 12, 2007
The more times I see High Fidelity, the more I grow to love it. I think that's because John Cusack, for all his pretentious douchebag moves, really emotes a sensitivity and authenticity in the midst of his messy, messy breakup. This film isn't afraid to go for the jugular, for the emotional punches in the chest - having sex in the front seat of a car in the wake of a funereal, Iben Hjejle's little remark about being tired which was so not romantic but somehow really was. The ending was not what I expected but it seemed like the most right thing in the world.
Shawn E

Super Reviewer

March 14, 2011
A very unique film that balances great music and a man's past relationships. The non-linear plot style and great use of asides make this film a lot of fun to watch, and John Cusak plays his character perfectly.
theunknownhobo
theunknownhobo

Super Reviewer

November 16, 2010
I will be honest and say the only reason I saw this movie is because I am a vinyl junkie. Someone gave me a copy of Hornby's book and told me that the character Rob Gordon, reminded them of me and I can see it in as much as we like the same music and wear the same jumpers, but I am nowhere near as analytical or as love starved as poor Rob is. John Cusack (Rob) delivers wonderfully fitting snuggly in this role and making it his own. This movie unfortunatly would not my top five, but if I were to make a list Rob, John Cusacks performance in this movie is definately in my top five Cusack roles of all time.
Gx7
Gx7

Super Reviewer

February 12, 2009
Oh, back in the days when record stores werent obsolete. -- Review to follow
YodaMasterJedi
YodaMasterJedi

Super Reviewer

September 8, 2010
3 stars
Dan S

Super Reviewer

October 24, 2007
A likeable enough film concerning a vinyl record salesman's (John Cusack) past relationships and how he's desperate to get the last one he had (Iben Hjejle) back so he won't further explore his paranoid thoughts of dying alone. You can either look at Cusack's character as a complete jerk and someone you can't root for, or completely human and someone you end up liking. I'm in the latter department. Cusack's performance goes yards here, as he creates a very flawed and sometimes self-deprecating individual, who, despite his short-comings, comes across as lovable as well as a real person. Jack Black is also delightfully hilarious as a slacker worker at the store Cusack runs in downtown Chicago. If you're a music geek, you should really like this movie, director Frears has no problem breaking down the fourth wall (a risky move that pays off) and having Cusack talk directly to the audience, so you learn more about his character as well as the rabid music scene.
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

July 15, 2010
Cusack named this film as one of his favorites. I can't agree more. Great story, with a savory music background, and real intimate feeling. A winner.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

November 19, 2009
John Cusack at his finest. High Fidelity is like the closest thing that guys have to a chick flick. It questions the essence of love in a way that makes sense to us. It spares no expense at exposing us for the morons we are and how clueless we can be at times. It also is a great music trivia film and any fans will appreciate the attention to detail.
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

October 14, 2008
Very funny and very painful. John Cusack was beyond perfect for this role, The guy-centered relationship drama has become recent favorite of mine, as lately I've seen a number of great movies from the genre. High Fidelity is as good as any of the others that I've seen, and I'd recommend it to anyone.
TomBowler
TomBowler

Super Reviewer

August 2, 2009
Really great flick. Full review later.
ScoopOnline
ScoopOnline

Super Reviewer

December 7, 2009
A tiny bit of everything in it.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 18, 2009
I find this film a little annoying. It managed to make a bad book worse!
Passenger1986
Passenger1986

Super Reviewer

October 30, 2007
Music and love. Two very good subjects to do in films. So combining the two, and having the music of love AND a love of music, makes for a special film indeed.

A slice-of-life comedy about the pitfalls of love, Cusack once again proves why he's a dynamic force. His breaking of the fourth wall is most enjoyable, using it as a catharsis of sorts. I find that his character, Rob Gordon, is not unlike myself in a few ways. We're both heavily introspective, we stay out of fights between friends/co-workers (sometimes playing Devil's advocate just to get a resolution) and most importantly, we make Top 5's out of just about anything (well I have to do something to pass the time at work when I'm alone). Though I haven't seen Evil Dead 2 yet... (don't tell Jack Black's character, Barry).

On the subject of Jack Black, I found his role quite surprising here. He's laid back, sure, but also subdued and without manic energy. This is not a complaint, however, as it's nice to see him in this sort of role. If it weren't for the fact that this is based on a book and the dialogue probably being lifted straight from it, I'd say its almost like Jack walked on set and used his own thoughts to form dialogue. Wouldn't surprise me, being the keen musician he is.

If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was a Cameron Crowe film. He does slice-of-life comedies too and his ear for music is unparalleled. This film has some great music too and some excellent music references (bonus points for bringing up The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace).

The idea of going back through your past to examine your present love life really resonates with me. Some say to leave the past in the past, I say if you forget your past, you're going to make the same mistakes over and over. Sure it's okay to try and repress certain memories to an extent (school being one of those for this reviewer) but analysis of the past could lead to a present epiphany. Rob Gordon understands this and this forms the driving force of the story. He sees old girlfriends years after things have ended in an attempt to stop this pattern repeating. Sometimes I think I could benefit from that, maybe that's another thing Rob and I have in common.

Throw in a wonderful performance from Catherine Zeta-Jones and you have a very thought-provoking experience.
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
LorenzoVonMatterhorn

Super Reviewer

August 11, 2007
"A comedy about fear of commitment, hating your job, falling in love and other pop favorites."

Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.

REVIEW
High Fidelity is a brave, creative, witty, and wry look at one young man's coming to grips with love and sorting through the requisite regrets, recriminations, rationalizations, reconciliations and ultimate realization. Built around an intelligent, non-stop script; an excellent talk-to-the-camera performance by Cusack; and a cadre of quality supporting actors, this film will be lauded and loathed for it's break-the-rules bravura, it's esoteric pop music purist milieu, and it's very male perspective. High Fidelity showcases some great acting to everyone concerned and is possibly John Cusack's finest hour...so far.
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