Release Date: 31 March 1999 (USA)
Cast: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik
Running Time: 1h 37min
Starting at a new school in the middle of the semester is nerve-wracking enough, without being completely dumbstruck by a popular, pretty student – and that’s exactly what happened to Padua High’s brand new student, Cameron.
As soon as he sees her, Cameron knows that Bianca Stratford is more than the superficial sophomore his new friend Michael makes her out to be, and knows that he wants to get to know her even better. But there’s one problem… Bianca Stratford doesn’t date unless the other Stratford sister does. And Katarina Stratford does not date. In fact, Kat doesn’t do anything people expect of her. This senior loves her poetry, her Shakespeare, her indie rock and her feminist prose. And she hates popular teenage ideals.
Nevertheless, Cameron doesn’t give up. Instead, he enlists the help of the high school pretty-boy and wannabe model, Joey Donner, to find Kat a date, who agrees, thinking he’d have a chance with Bianca too. Cameron and Joey plot to pay someone to woo Kat, and decide on the perfect candidate: Patrick Verona. The elusive Patrick is the school bad-boy with the less-than-desirable reputation (including the rumor that he once ate a live duck), and perfect for the no-nonsense Kat.
After a very public display of affection including an iconic rendition of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,’ Kat begins to wane under the charms of Patrick, and Patrick soon begins to fall for her too – until she finds out that he was paid to take her out.
The next day, a heartbroken Kat reads her poem entitled ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ where she reveals that no matter how hard she tries to hate Patrick – she just can’t. Luckily, she has it in her heart to forgive him after he buys her an awesome new guitar…
Although this movie has all of the characteristics of a typical teen rom-com – a high school prom, the nerd falling in love with the popular kid, and an embarrassing public display of affection, 10 Things I Hate About You is not your average teen-comedy. It is so much more.
Adapted from Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’, whether you love Shakespeare, hate Shakespeare, or are completely ambivalent about Shakespeare, you’d be hard-pressed to not enjoy this movie. It’s not your typical rom-com, nor is it an odd indie movie. Instead, it’s the ultimate feel-good movie that gives anyone and everyone hope – because if Patrick Verona can fall in love, so can anyone!
The movie also featured some of the most iconic actors of the late ‘90s – Heath Ledger as the bad boy, Julia Stiles as the edgy alt-girl, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the baby faced newbie, and Larisa Oleynik as the popular unavailable girl. And the casting couldn’t have been any better if they tried. Because their acting is so flawless and easy, the whole storyline flows without feeling too forced or repetitive like many other Shakespearian adaptations.
This movie also strays from the stereotypical teen movie because of the lessons we can take away from it. On one side we’re taught to be more like Katarina – because the only person whose opinion really, really matters is our own. On another side, we are taught to be more like Patrick – and to have confidence in ourselves and our talents no matter what. And then, we’re taught to be like Cameron – who never gave up on his dream, and did everything he possibly could to get his happy ending. And if those aren’t some of the best life lessons to learn from a movie, we don’t know what are…