'High Fidelity': Unexpected Ways the Show and Movie Are Different

Hulu’s TV show adaptation of High Fidelity was a funny and compelling take on modern dating and relationships. In many ways, it’s a great follow-up and companion to the film version that came out 20 years ago. However, while the show and movie are tonally and thematically consistent, some plot developments differ significantly. Let’s take a closer look at how the show and movie differ and the one key difference in how they conclude that radically sets them apart from one another.  

‘High Fidelity’s’ TV show and movie differ in several ways

While both versions of High Fidelity are based on the same original story, they have many key differences. Screen Rant pointed out these differences in a piece about the show. 

Based on Nick Hornby’s popular novel, the 2000 film starred John Cusack as a whiny but lovable narcissist record store owner named Rob. Rob experiences a harsh breakup and decides to explore his past failed relationships, figuring out why they didn’t work. Surrounding Rob are his record store companions played by a collection of recognizable stars. Additionally, the film featured one of the first major appearances of Jack Black. 

The show, starring Zoe Kravitz, moves the story to Brooklyn, New York. Rob is now a biracial, bisexual woman (short for Robyn). However, most other aspects of Kravtiz’s Rob’s background stay the same. For example, she still works at a record store, like her film counterpart. Furthermore, the show still features many of the same narrative techniques from the movie – for example, both Robs often break the fourth wall, and viewers see both characters strolling down memory lane as they reconnect with old lovers. 

The ending of the ‘High Fidelity’ movie was a happy one

Cusack’s Rob is seemingly heartbroken near the end of the film, unable to reunite with the woman who most recently broke his heart, Laura. Then, sadly, her father passes away. When Rob comes to pay his respects, Laura insists that they get back together. 

The couple then decides to re-enter into a relationship. The film, a hilarious but sometimes emotionally brutal ride, ends on a somewhat surprisingly happy note. Rob and Laura have gotten back together, even if, at times, it doesn’t feel that Rob has quite “earned” his happy ending. A movie that talks a lot about the pitfalls of love and relationships takes an optimistic turn at the conclusion. 

That’s a stark contrast to how the show concluded. 

The ending of the ‘High Fidelity’ TV show wasn’t quite as happy

One brilliant way the TV show differs from the movie is that while this version of Rob longs for a lover who broke up with her, it also introduces a new person for her to be with. The show also differs from the movie unexpectedly because Rob doesn’t get a happy ending.

When the show’s run ends, she cannot patch things up with her ex, and her new lover moves on. It’s the worst of both worlds for Rob as she ends up alone, contemplating her behavior and actions. It’s not nearly as optimistic as the movie, instead opting to have a more realistic ending. 

While this ending may seem bleak compared to the movie’s happier one, it’s important to note the differences between one medium and another. The movie is a self-contained entity. The show ending on a somewhat dour note may only be setting up a second season. There’s nothing that says the show and movie have to be the same. 

There’s hope for Hulu’s Rob – she may still have her happy ending yet, as it just might occur later down the line. 

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