New TV version of ‘High Fidelity’ switches genders for the better

It’s hard to believe it’s 20 years since the film High Fidelity was in cinemas. Nick Horby’s novel which was originally set in London, was relocated to Chicago where John Cusack delivered one of his most memorable roles as lovelorn record shop owner Rob Gordon.

Now the story is getting a new outing with many changes to it’s structure. In this new TV version Rob is a woman, played by Zoe Kravitz, and the action is relocated to Brooklyn.

The story is the same, Rob’s revisiting her failed relationships, while owning a record store staffed by two hipster shop assistants.

The trio spend their day making Top 5 lists of the best albums of various sub-genres, while Rob recounts to the audience her Top 5 worst break-ups.

Continuing with the theme of addressing the gender imbalance in the story, the character of Barry – memorably played by Jack Black, is now Cherise played by Da’Vine Joy Randolph who delivers an over-the-top performance of equal worth.

When the story first appeared as a novel it was set in the 1980s, and surprisingly the setting of a record shop staffed by judgmental music obsessed hipsters is still relevant, in fact it seems like they are making a comeback.

The casting of Zoe Kravitz in the lead role is clever, she’s the daughter of rocker Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet, and her mother appeared in the Cusack version of the story.

For those old enough to remember the summer of 1989 when Lenny Kravitz released Let Love Rule an album inspired by his wife and newborn daughter – it’s a moment of pop music history that would make a Top 5 list of ‘records inspired by muses’.

If you’re not familiar with the story of High Fidelity, watching this series as a stand alone experience might leave you wanting something funnier, sharpers and faster paced. Yet if you’re familiar with the book and previous movie, watching a familiar tale told through a different gender perspective is intriguing.

High Fidelity is can be streamed on ABC iView.

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