Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"High Fidelity"

I watched High Fidelity for the first time a week or so ago, and was pleasantly surprised.

I was expecting a standard romantic comedy with a great soundtrack (which is usually a good enough excuse for me to watch one). What I got instead was a clever, entertaining, and brutally honest portrait of an average 30-something joe (played by John Cusack) trying to figure out why his girlfriend is leaving him, and coming to a profound realization in the end, one that I thought I would never find in a modern Hollywood movie. (Beware of spoilers.)

The movie consists of Cusack's character (Rob) leading the audience through a history of his past failed relationships, in the hopes that he will find out what the key to his failure is so that he can win back his current girlfriend who is leaving him. To make a long story short, he and his girlfriend do end up getting back together, but then something unexpected happens. In the movie's climactic scene, Rob proposes (kind of) to his girlfriend, but in the process of doing so (and in the short scene that precedes it), lays bare the lies of the current "hook-up/if it feels good, do it" culture.

Rob realizes that "thinking with your gut" (i.e. lust) is a dead end. Hooking up on the basis of a "fantasy with no problems" doesn't exist. He is tired of the fantasy.

This may seem pretty basic, but in our culture, it is never discussed. Guys are especially prone to this, and are therefore targeted and tricked by our pornographic culture into thinking that they can find fulfillment in hooking up and doing anything that feels good. Rob has tested these waters, and is now crying "bullshit." He knows that it is an endless cycle unless he settles down, and he is "tired of thinking about it." I don't blame him.

"High Fidelity" indeed.

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