Pros: Zoe Kravitz fits seamlessly into the atmosphere of the story; music and discussions about it; the heroes make “top 5” lists, just like in the original story; episodes last about 30 minutes Cons: romantic lines make the material monotonous; the heroine cannot break out of the vicious circle of tiresome thoughts “Fanatic” / High Fidelity
Genre melodrama, comedy
Creators Sarah Kucherka, Veronica West
Cast: Zoe Kravitz (Robin Brooks), Jake Lacey (Clyde), Davan Joy Randolph (Cherish), Kingsley Ben-Adir (Mac), Rainbow Sun Franks (Cameron), Thomas Doherty (Liam), Parker Posey (Noreen), Ivanna Sakhno (Kat), Debbie Harry (as herself), Jack Antonoff (as herself), etc.
Year of release 2020
The story of the vinyl store owner first appeared not in cinema, but in literature. In 1995, a novel by British writer Nick Hornby was published, in which the author talked about a man analyzing the most memorable breakups of his life, and at the same time talking about music.
Representatives of Touchstone Pictures liked the book, and they, in turn, invited John Cusack to play the leading role. The actor, who participated in the adaptation of the script, turned his character into a music lover from Chicago, surrounded by rude and shy snobs who work for him part-time. The hero, with a gambling obsession, compiled “top 5” lists, devoting them to his favorite songs or the most painful breakups. He argued that the only thing that matters is what a person likes, and not what he is like in himself.
This idea, as well as the general mood of the film, was picked up by the creators of the series for Hulu. The showrunners of the new version of High Fidelity moved the events to New York and changed the hero to the heroine, inviting Zoe Kravitz to the project. To be fair, it is worth noting that the actress fits into history organically – she, being the daughter of Lenny Kravitz, from a young age spent time surrounded by famous performers, and she herself tried herself in music (moreover, the actress’s mother, Lisa Bonet, starred in a cameo role in the movie High Fidelity). Zoë Kravitz contributed to the series by creating a playlist for it that included Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Talking Heads, and David Bowie.
Actually, discussions of musical genres and cult compositions are an essential and, perhaps, the best part of the series. The heroine and her two friends, who work in a vinyl record store, can boast of their knowledge for hours, rating releases or arguing with each other about the themes of mixtapes. At first, their dialogues look like arrogant chatter, but over time, musical conversations become more and more interesting.
High Fidelity showrunners emphasize that the series came out 20 years after the film premiered, which means that reality has changed significantly. This can be felt in the dialogues of the characters – they are discussing whether it is possible to continue to love the music of Michael Jackson (after all the scandals and trials based on accusations of pedophilia). This is also noticeable in the personalities of the series’ characters themselves, who have become more diverse in their self-expression, as well as in their sexual preferences.
In the series, love lines were given a lot of space, which made the material rather boring and monotonous. The main character decides to find her former lovers and find out why they left her. She does not notice his progressing selfishness and languishes from loneliness, running away from him to concerts or simply to the nearest bar. There, she still cannot hide from obsessive thoughts about her last love, which Zoe Kravitz constantly tells the viewer about, breaking the fourth wall. In essence, John Cusack’s character did the same thing, it’s just that his story was successfully packed into two hours, putting an end to the romantic torments in time. But the series endlessly stretches this topic, playing with the uncertainty of the main character, and aiming for a second season in vain.
It’s good that the episodes last about 30 minutes without spreading out over a long period of time. In addition, in all ten episodes you can notice references to the 2000 film, and even full-fledged recreations of familiar scenes, to which modern elements are added (such as compiling playlists on Spotify). There are also some interesting reinterpretations in the series – for example, in the film, John Cusack talked to an imaginary Bruce Springsteen, and Zoe Kravitz imagines a conversation with Debbie Harry from the group Blondie.
Perhaps the new version of High Fidelity came out at the right time, when the fashion for vinyl returned, and with it came an almost subcultural movement of people nostalgic for times that were long before their birth. A representative of this generation is the heroine Zoë Kravitz, who surrounds herself with hundreds of unique records and, alas, dozens of recurring problems.
The series is interesting for its musical component and new reinterpretations. Unfortunately, the love lines turn High Fidelity into an annoying melodrama, in which the writers could not put a logical point (so the film turned out to be a more successful and holistic story).