I remember kind of loving Ten Things I Hate About You when I first saw it in college. I was just the right age to appreciate the film, and somehow everything worked. Ten years later, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to go back. It seemed like it might all be a little noisy and, well, young. I’m happy to report that the movie not only stands the test of time, it stands the test of age.
This modern reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is set in Seattle, and finds the Stratford sisters very much on the social radar. Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) is the most beautiful girl in school, and Kat (Julia Stiles) is widely regarded as a “heinous bitch”. It’s a well known fact that the Stratford girls are not allowed to date. Kat couldn’t care less, but Bianca can’t wait to spread her wings and fly like the social butterfly she is. And so their father makes an exception: Bianca can date when Kat dates. Suddenly it’s in everybody’s best interest to get Kat out of the house.
Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan) is a spoiled, self-obsessed aspiring model who has set his sights on Bianca, and he’s thrilled at this new development. All he has to do is pay bad boy Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to woo Kat, and he’ll be free to date her sister! The trouble is that Patrick is actually a really decent guy, and he and Kat genuinely begin to fall for one another.
What follows is a satisfying romantic comedy packed with enough pathos and intelligence to engage any demographic. The film centers on teenagers, but they are presented as relatable, three-dimensional human beings. The result is an accessible, inclusive film that feels just as fresh as it did ten years ago.
Extras include a substantial featurette called “Ten Things I Love About Ten Things I Hate About You Ten Years Later”. Vintage cast interviews are combined with current conversations with the film’s writers and director. It’s a nice look back at the making of a teen classic and its legacy.