I was on a bit of John Cusack kick for a hot minute and there are so many wonderful moments in this movie, especially for a music lover like me. This is another title that I haven’t watched in a very very long time, and I am so glad that I revisited it. Also, the action takes place in my hometown of Chicago which never fails to warm my heart. Especially since I have so many fond memories of record stores just like the one featured in this film. Most of which are closed down at this point, sadly.
John Cusack plays Rob Gordon, a down on his relationship luck owner of an indie record store. His most recent relationship with Laura (Iben Hjejle) has tanked rather spectacularly, so he decides to take a stroll down memory lane with his top 5 worst breakups of all time. This isn’t the only list that he makes, he’s rather compulsive about it actually, and many times during the film you can hear them rattle off top fives of pretty much anything. Though music is a biggie (obviously).
High Fidelity is, at its core, about taking stock of one’s life. Really getting down and dirty into the recesses of your past and digging around kicking up dust and grit. Rob is a rather depressive character overall, but that is part of his charm, for me anyway. I knew quite a few people like him throughout my life, and though they were eternal pessimists, their sarcasm was always entertaining. The comic relief comes in the form of Barry (Jack Black) who plays…well Jack Black? Just kidding, he has a bit more depth then that but for the most part he’s the one who is running around the store causing trouble. Typical hijinks you’d expect from good old Jack.
Throughout the film, Rob is not only trying to take stock of his past breakups, but to get back together with Laura. One of my favorite scenes in this is when he is talking to his mother on the phone and she literally bursts into tears when Rob tells her about the breakup. Which is just moments after she says that if it wasn’t for Laura he would be totally lost. Rob almost ends up consoling her about the break up!
But at the root of that, is that he is in his thirties and he still can’t seem to nail down that whole “adulting” thing. He plays at it perhaps, but he always has “one foot out the door” as he puts it. Always looking for that next best thing, that thrill of the new. But that thrill only lasts for so long, and eventually you have to realize that there is something to be said for feeling at home with someone. Which you can only get by trudging through the bad times with someone, being there consistently and being present in a relationship.
Through the course of the movie, Rob’s character slowly comes to realize this, but not without some prodding and happenstance. This isn’t your standard Rom-Com though, there is a deeper message. (I don’t watch your standard romantic comedy, as I’m sure you’ve already gleaned from my previous blogs). So if you’re feeling nostalgic and want to wax poetic about maybe your top five breakups, give this one a watch.