“High Fidelity”: Hornby’s Novel and Frears’s Film Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Aug 15th, 2020

This paper is the analysis of the novel and film versions of High Fidelity. The paper focuses on the main themes of both versions and the way they are delivered, the techniques and methods employed by the authors of both the film and the novel in order to get their messages across to the readers and viewers.

The novel and film versions of High Fidelity are focused on the exploration of the same issue. The main character is in search of an answer to a question that keeps bothering him. Rob asks himself: “What is wrong with me? Why am I doomed to be left?” (High Fidelity). The readers of the novel and the audience of the film are suggested to search for the answer to this question in Rob’s past and his behaviors. Rob has a major problem – every romantic relationship he has ended as a failure, and every woman Rob dates eventually leaves him for another man.

First of all, a book and a film rely on a rather different means in order to communicate messages. While in a book, the narration is used to provide descriptions of emotions, behaviors, thoughts, and environments, a movie relies on visual images, sound effects, music, intonations, and facial expressions. The main character of High Fidelity Rob is suffering from a post-breakup depression. In a book, his feelings are described by means of first-person narration as Rob openly pours out his soul to the readers. In the film, Rob also does the narration addressing the viewers, but his story is supported by emotional reactions the audience can witness – Rob screams in frustration, slams doors, and has tears in his eyes.

In both versions of High Fidelity, Rob goes through his past relationships, pointing out the similarity between them, which makes it clear that the similar patterns of all his relationships are not caused by the women. In the film, the lack of Rob’s confidence is more obvious in the other spheres of his life – career, relationships with friends, mother. The novel emphasizes this aspect as well as mentioning that Rob used to be a very successful disc jockey but failed to commit to that occupation. This way, it can be concluded that Rob has a tendency to jeopardize his relationship with everyone and everything as soon as it becomes especially good.

One of the most noticeable differences between the film and the novel versions is the location, the novel takes place in London, while in the film, Rob lives in Chicago which puts the story is completely different surroundings both geographically and culturally. Besides, the influence and presence of Marie LaSalle are rather minor in the movie compared to the film, which allows the makers to underline the relationship between Rob and Laura.

Most importantly, the film makers dialed down Rob’s philosophical side and he does not try to intertwine music and sense of living in his narration is the film as much as he does in the novel. Moreover, the film makers omitted all the rare and unknown musicians and songs most of the readers would not be familiar with. Besides, as music is one of the major themes in the story – the film is more successful incorporating it into the narration in the form of soundtracks.

To conclude, the film and novel versions of High Fidelity have their own weak and strong sides. The film is more successful making music a significant part of the story, and the novel has a deeper philosophical discussion.

Works Cited

High Fidelity. Dir. Stephen Frears. Perf. John Cusack, Jack Black, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, Tim Robbins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lisa Bonet. Touchstone Pictures, 2000. Film.




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