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High Fidelity

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High Fidelity is directed by Stephen Frears (The High-Lo Country, Dangerous Liaisons) and is written for the screen by D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, Scott Rosenberg and John Cusack, from the novel by Nick Hornby. High Fidelity offers a comedic look at its heartbroken main character and narrator, whose recent breakup forces him to rethink his previous failed romances and to confront the fear of commitment. The owner of a vinyl record store, Rob Gordon (John Cusack: Being John Malkovich) feels misled and mistreated by his new ex-girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle: Mifune). Bored and confused, Rob decides to revisit a series of old girlfriends (played by Lili Taylor, Joelle Carter and Catherine Zeta-Jones) in order to learn from their reasons for having rejected him. When his research produces a somewhat optimistic view of himself, Rob's self-esteem is revitalized and he feels compelled to pursue a new adventure with the exotic Marie DeSalle (Lisa Bonet). Conflicts arise when Rob learns about Laura's sudden interest in his intolerable neighbor Ian (Tim Robbins).

High Fidelity portrays the banal aspects of falling in and out of love. Its main character, who personifies the identifiable ups and downs of bachelorhood, often turns to the camera to describe his misfortunes and to incite the viewers' sense of sympathy and humor. High Fidelity draws most of its comedy, however, from Rob's two eccentric employees, Barry and Dick (Jack Black and Todd Louiso), whose well-defined personalities and distinct tastes in music contrast Rob's overall ambivalence. High Fidelity offers a strictly male point of view by depicting a world where every male character --troubled or not-- is nonetheless a funny character, and where all female characters are either too angered, too hurt or too indifferent, yet always serious. This choice supports the protagonist's perception of the female mind as impenetrable and makes High Fidelity a film which comments one-sidedly on the irrationality of love.

Transplanted from England to the not-so-mean streets of Chicago, the screen adaptation of Nick Hornby's cult-classic novel High Fidelity emerges unscathed from its Americanization, idiosyncrasies intact, thanks to John Cusack's inimitable charm and a nimble, nifty screenplay (cowritten by Cusack). Early-thirtysomething Rob Gordon (Cusack) is a slacker who owns a vintage record shop, a massive collection of LPs, and innumerable top-five lists in his head. At the opening of the film, Rob recounts directly to the



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