This is, quite simply, one of my all time favourite movies; at the very least, it’s in the top ten, if not top five. The book, by Nick Hornby, is also pretty good, and I enjoyed reading it, but the movie is better. (I did consider doing a two-for-one and discuss both movie and book, but that seems like a lot of trouble, especially as I haven’t read the book in awhile).
You should also love this movie, at the very least because it has John Cusack, who is great. As is his sister, Joan Cusack, who also has a role in the movie. So, really, that’s two good reasons for the Dear Reader to fall in love with High Fidelity. Other reasons include, but are not limited to, the fact that it is quite a funny movie, has some great lines, and talks about Very Important things.
Anyway, the movie is about Rob Gordon (John Cusack), who owns a small record store in Chicago. Rob’s girlfriend breaks up with him right at the start of the film, and the whole movie is, essentially, about their breakup and eventual reconciliation. More importantly, Rob grows out of himself into doing better things, and so on and so forth; the aforementioned Very Important things that the movie talks about. These themes are all very good, showing Rob’s selfishness at first, and his development as a person; however, I just want to be superficial at the moment, and talk about the other parts of the movie which I love.
Firstly, the entire opening scene is brilliant. John Cusack leaning out the window, shouting at his girlfriend that she wouldn’t ever make it onto his list of worst breakups; we are then treated to flashbacks as Cusack narrates the breakups. It sounds rather drab when I describe it here, but it really is an hilarious scene, and sets the tone for the entire film brilliantly. Honestly, this does, actually, have to be one of my favourite scenes in any movie. Cusack’s depressed and rather dead-panish, self-absorbed delivery and narration works so well. While I’m at describing favourite scenes, the scene where Cusack organises his record collection chronologically based on his life is pretty great, as well…
Secondly, the movie’s humour. I can’t go into it all, detailing joke after joke after joke, but suffice to say that there are some gems in this film. Even Jack Black’s character, an employee at Rob’s record store, who plays the essentially the same Jack Black character as he’s played for years, is quite funny; especially amusing are the way both of Cusack’s employees are absolute jerks to everyone else at the store, for not having as ‘good’ a music taste as them.
Thirdly, it is a serious movie. This sounds like a rather silly thing to like about it, so allow me to justify myself. High Fidelity is definitely funny; but it’s one of those funny-sad movies, that you can watch when you’re in the mood for something deeper than just Animal Crackers or Let’s Be Cops; not that that those aren’t great movies, but they’re not, well, serious enough sometimes. High Fidelity manages to maintain a level of seriousness that can be rather poignant sometimes, even; yet it still maintains brilliant lines and amusing scenes, to keep one rather lightly entertained.
There are other reasons to watch and love this movie (such as the music); this is simply a short list I concocted while baking a tea cake (it looks so yummy now it’s glazed. I just want to eat it straight away). So, even if none of those reasons persuade the Dear Reader to watch it (and, heaven forbid! perhaps even Joan and John Cusack cannot tempt the Dear Reader), I would encourage you to seek it out and watch it; it is well worth it. Even if you don’t particularly like the movie, at least you can say that you’ve watched a damn good movie with some great actors. And, with a bit of luck, you may even be persuaded to go and watch other movies based on Nick Hornby novels; I recommend A Long Way Down and About a Boy, but those are just two I pulled out of my hat.