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High Fidelity

High Fidelity is a British novel by Nick Hornby, first published (ISBN 0575057483) in 1995. It was made into a film in 2000 starring John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Jack Black, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lisa Bonet, and Lili Taylor. more...

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The book and film have essentially similar plots, though the setting, originally London, is moved to Chicago in the film. Cusack plays Rob, a record shop owner in his 30s whose girlfriend Laura (Hjejle) has just left him. At the record shop — named Championship Vinyl — he and his employees Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black) spend their free moments discussing mix tape aesthetics and constructing "top five" lists of anything that demonstrates their knowledge of music.

Rob, recalling his five most memorable breakups, sets about getting in touch with the former girlfriends, including Charlie (Zeta-Jones) and Sarah (Taylor).

Eventually, Rob's re-examination of his failed relationships (egged on in a lucid dream dialogue with Bruce Springsteen in the film adaptation), and the death of Laura's father bring the two of them back together. Their relationship is cemented by the launch of a new purposefulness to Rob's life, which in the book is the revival of his disc jockey career, and in the film, the launch of his new record label. Rob also resolves his ongoing desire to be interested in other women by realizing that they're only fantasies, since he hasn't seen their negative, less-appealing sides while his relationship with Laura is impartial. He decides that the overall happiness and fulfillment his relationship with Laura brings are worth the occasional downsides.

The protagonist and the story delve straight into the male psyche, exposing it to be brutally caring and passionately simple. Pop music becomes a metaphor for everything, for life and for love. High Fidelity also deals with the theme of male obsession, a subject explored in Hornby's other books.


  • Original music for the soundtrack was contributed by Boo Hewerdine, an old friend of Hornby's.
  • After seeing the film, the author said he wanted Cusack to play the leads in every film adaptation of his books, which hasn't happened since the leads were played by Hugh Grant in About A Boy and Jimmy Fallon in Fever Pitch, which was also played in a British version with Colin Firth.


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