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Movie Review

High Fidelity

MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexuality

Reviewed by: Halyna Barannik
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Romance Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 47 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
John Cusack and Iben Hjejle in “High Fidelity”
Featuring: John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Sara Gilbert, Jack Black, Iben Hjejle
Director: Stephen Frears, Seamus McGarvey
Producer: Tim Bevan, Rudd Simmons
Distributor: Touchstone Pictures

“High Fidelity” is a guy movie (as opposed to a chick flick). It’s love and romance from a man’s point of view.

Rob Gordon (John Cusack) is the owner of a retro record shop that is barely getting by, mostly because he and his two employees couldn’t care less. They are so high into their esoteric knowledge of rock that their work hours are spent listening to the music, rating the top five records, and looking down on anybody who doesn’t appreciate their funky taste.

The center of the show is Gordon, who goes to pieces when his girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) walks out on him. She wants a commitment, something more than living with a guy who doesn’t seem to want to grow up. Gordon then proceeds to analyze his top five breakups and tells the audience what happened. He even looks his former girlfriends up to find out why they left him.

Cusack plays Rob Gordon as a pitiful loser, the overgrown adolescent who doesn’t know how to take a relationship seriously. However, somehow he figures out he really cares about Laura, and tries to find a way to get her back, like stalking her new boyfriend. He also realizes he doesn’t want to go on living the life of a nobody who doesn’t care about anybody.

The movie delves into the male perspective on relationships. Crude language abounds. It’s a guy movie, as I’ve already said. There is no violence, it’s not mean-spirited. There are some humorous scenes. But all the male figures are sort of losers.

Gordon keeps narrating his reflections and opinions, and little by little he seems to grow up a bit. If you like loud rock, if you can stand the language, if you realize that this is a guy talking, for whom relationships mean sex and living together, and hopefully commitment that won’t be too painful or horrible, then this movie will amuse you. The R rating is for the terrible language and some sex scenes. It should also cover the cynical, shallow approach to life that these characters exemplify, especially Gordon’s employees. For mature adults only. You probably will not want to see another John Cusack film for awhile, after spending more than an hour inside this guy’s head.


Viewer Comments
I took my girlfriend to this movie. I think she was bored. I would have probably enjoyed it more had she not been there. I like what the reviewer said “it’s a guy movie”. I have always liked John Cusack and hey! any movie where the Boss (Bruce Springsteen) makes an appearance has my endorsement.
—Don Lambirth, age 31
As my husband and I are huge John Cusack fans and have been since we saw the 1985 coming-of-age classic “Better Off Dead,” we haven’t missed a single movie that he has starred in. I must say with all sincerity that I was pretty disappointed in “High Fidelity.” The movie itself had potential—it was fairly humorous, the acting was above average, and the plot was rather unique. While there were other moral aspects of the film I didn’t necessarily agree with, the one thing that really bothered me was the language. In my opinion, it was beyond offensive. I have never in my life heard the “F” word used more times in single conversations. Forget using the word for shock value, because you hear it so often in everyday talk that it becomes meaningless. My Ratings: [1½/3]
—Stacy, age 23
Par for the course, Cusak plays a mildly misanthropic young man with problems relating to people (and women particularly). I had the pleasure of reading the original screenplay and unfortunately, the film did not quite live up to my expectation (my own fault for having any, I suppose). The last ten minutes not only seemed tacked-on, but were; the unnecessary product of test-screening (I’d imagine), the tail-end felt both anti-climactic and unsatisfying. But, having gone through something of the same brand of circumstance as Cusak’s Rob, I could very well identify with SOME of his aberrant behavior. 3 Stars outta 4.
—Seth T. Hahne, age 26
Entertaining, high quality film. Probably not the best choice for Christians though, since it portrays quite well a VERY non-Christian worldview on relationships and life in general. The performance by Rob’s employee (Jack Black) is great. My Ratings: [2/4]
—Jonathan Stephenson, age 29