Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) is beautiful, smart and quite abrasive to most of her fellow teens, meaning that she doesn't attract many boys. Unfortunately for her younger sister, Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), house rules say that she can't date until Kat has a boyfriend, so strings are pulled to set the dour damsel up for a romance. Soon Kat crosses paths with handsome new arrival Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger). Will Kat let her guard down enough to fall for the effortlessly charming Patrick?
When you're asked of the 90's movie what do you remember? What films spring to mind? There are a few for me but none stand out as much as the cult classic '10 Things I Hate About You'. There's no denying that there has been a rise in the modernization of classic literature, such as Amy Heckerling 1995 'Clueless' that takes on the story of Jane Austen's 'Emma' and turns it on its head and even though I could sit here and talk about Clueless all day I won't! (I just wanted to get at least one reference in that sort of ties in to the film I'm reviewing). This is why I love 10 Things I Hate About You, it takes the taming of the shrew and very subtle tells the tale with fresh and young eyes. The film uses more subtle hints to link it's ties with Shakespeares classic, the biggest being a rewrite of Shakespeare's sonnet being assigned to the students where we go on to see Kat declare her love for Patrick.
All characters stand out in their own way and rightly so; for me this was the film that I really began to recognize and remember Heath Ledger. I can't recall seeing him in much else but I knew when I saw this I couldn't get him out of my head and I think a lot of us probably felt this way. He takes on the roll of bad boy, Patrick Verona who makes a bet with the Cameron (Joseph Gordon Levitt) to win the heart of Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) so that he can take Kat's sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) on a date after their father, Walter Stratford (Larry Miller), said he will only allow her to date if her sister Kat is – which little does Cameron know would allow concideted Joey (Andrew Keegan) to take Bianca out on a date who is also after her. On the road to this Bianca finds herself falling for Cameron. All of the character's help tell the story and all of them make the film that little bit more loveable, even Michael who's just dying to be cool even if it is by association! (Daiv Krumholtz) There's one character in the film that I have to give a special mention to though, Walter Stratford – he's aces the role of over-protected dad coming up with some lines that will forever go down as the greatest quotes in cinema history! Saying that there are a lot of things said in this film that I could sit here and type because so much of it is relevant – So I've just listed some of my favourites…
Kat Stratford: I guess in this society, being male and an asshole makes you worthy of our time.
Cameron: Just 'cause you're beautiful, that doesn't mean that you can treat people like they don't matter.
Walter Stratford: And I'll get to sleep at night. The deep slumber of a father whose daughters aren't out being impregnated.
Even though we've seen most of this before in the generic high school story there's something rather charming and new about this movie that makes it stand out above the rest. The film's good-natured humor and charming characters manage to elevate the status of this film from your boring High School flick to a fun and witty one – one where you actually wouldn't mind being in. I am an absolute sucker for a good romance film but this definitely takes the cake for being one of my favorites – it does break my heart a little bit how this was started from a bet though and of course Kat was going to find out all of this and I was just waiting for it to happen! But I'm glad all is resolved and we see them all happy together in the end.
Leading on from that It's hard not to appreciate the relationship between Patrick and Kat, once you get past the fact that all this was brought on by a bet. Patrick is the boy that I kind of wished I had when at high school, singing 'I love you baby' over the P.A. system on the school's athletic field and fun paintball filled fights. In a time where we were used to seeing the conventional Hollywood couple in high school – we are introduced to two outcasts finding their way together and that's what I love about this film, it's different to what at the time we would have seen. I love the character of Kat, she's showing female empowerment and more – teaching her sister Bianca that she shouldn't settle for less or men who just want one thing. Kat is a role model for young girls and rightly so, it's okay to be different and it's more than okay to stand up for what you believe in without letting anyone tell you that it's not or that you'll never find love. You don't have to be the norm 'perfect', be your own.
10 Things I Hate About You is one of them films that no matter how many times you watch it, it still doesn't becoming boring or old and even in many years to come I still don't think this film will be forgotten about – it will forever go down as one of my greatest highschool flicks in history.