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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Sunday, April 20, 2014 - Edition No 893 

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10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU

SYNOPSIS:
The Stratford sisters, Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) and Kat (Julia Stiles), have reached a crucial impasse. Their father Walter (Larry Miller), a gynecologist inordinately obsessed with teenage pregnancies, will not allow the pretty and popular Bianca to start dating until her older sister Kat has got herself a guy as well. Problem is, Kat is an abrasive, quick-tempered sour-puss whose predilection for pouring scorn on the whole dating ritual, as well as every boyfriend wannabe in general, has consolidated her position as the school's social outcast. Realising that he can never get to first base with Bianca until the Kat dilemma is solved, a hopelessly smitten Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), with help from his buddy Michael (David Krumholz), inveigles narcissistic rich kid Joey (Andrew Keegan) to bribe moody newcomer Patrick (Heath Ledger) to take Kat out. Joey agrees to fork out the money in the mistaken belief that it is he who Bianca is pining after. Against expectations, Kat slowly begins to warm to Patrick's overtures and he, in turn, finds himself genuinely enjoying her company. But when Kat learns of the bribe, she feels she’s been used.

"In much the same way that Jane Austen's classic Emma was contemporised into the engaging Clueless, and Choderlos de Laclos' Les Liaisons Dangereuses into the stylish Cruel Intentions, 10 Things I Hate About You is actually Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew transferred to the campus of a Seattle high school. Displaying a narrative assurance that belies their scant resume, writers Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, along with director Gil Junger, have worked wonders in putting a fresh spin on the teen movie's formulaic conventions. It's a witty, engaging confection underpinned by an air of sophistication which manages to lend its characters considerable depth and credibility. No mean feat considering the genre's limitations. Making it all work is a terrific ensemble cast. By virtue of her pivotal role as the feisty, obstreperous Kat, Julia Stiles makes every scene count with a performance that augers well for her burgeoning career. Likewise former Aussie soap star Heath Ledger, here making his Hollywood debut as tough guy Patrick. And it's not just the kids who shine. Allison Janney is a scream as the school counsellor preoccupied with the porn novel she's writing, while veteran stand-up comic and sometime actor Larry Miller is hilarious as the sisters' befuddled father. Evocatively shot in and around the semi-Gothic environs of Tacoma's famous Stadium High School, 10 Things I Hate About You is an unexpected gem which deserves to be seen by more than just its target audience."
Leo Cameron

"I think it’s best to get Shakespeare out of the way first up: this is not a contemporising of his play, even though it may have been suggested by it. Written by two talented women, it is a tribute, perhaps, and certainly the Bard gets a decent cameo. Refreshingly set in scenic Seattle, 10 Things… is sharper and cooler than your average teen romantic comedy, with some genuine characterisation – superbly realised by the charismatic young Australian actor, Heath Ledger (the next Mel Gibson without the pretty boy looks), in his American movie debut as the individualistic Patrick. (If you like him in this, you can catch him co-starring with Bryan Brown in Two Hands, from July 29, 1999.) Julia Styles, as the shrewish, hard-nosed young Kat with a mind and a will of her own, manages to make her character credible throughout a challenging role, and the supports are all excellent. These characters feel real on the screen, with emotions and motivations that ring true. Gil Junger’s direction has great pace and also a sense of place; the campus and the dormitory suburb where the sisters live are well defined and add to our journey. The target audience will find the film very cool and its edginess will appeal to a broader audience – like fathers of teenage girls, who will sympathise with Larry Miller’s marvelous solo father. The film has hit written all over it – it’s funny and sassy and ideal mainstream entertainment with a totally contemporary look, feel and sound. Music very much included."
Andrew L. Urban

"While there are some nice things about this film, the trouble with claiming that it's based on a Shakespearian comedy, is that one has certain expectations, and they're never met. Possibly because Kat, the shrew in question, is played with such wistful ambivalence by the young Julia Stiles who lacks the experience and depth to make Kat as credible a vixen as she should be. However, as bland as she is as Kat, Aussie Heath Ledger is commanding as Patrick, the young man who ultimately tames her. Ledger is certainly a star in the making, a charismatic young actor who dominates the film, and leaves everyone lagging behind. Director Gil Junger adopts a largely pedestrian approach to the material, but it does have some sprightly performances, and an engaging final act, but it comes too little too late. It's a cute idea, and the film is not without its charming moments, but it ain't Shakespeare!"
Paul Fischer



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

Andrew L. Urban reports on the
MAKING OF
10 Things I Hate About You

10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU (PG)
(US)

CAST: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, Larisa Oleynik, David Krumholtz, Andrew Keegan, Larry Miller, Allison Janney

DIRECTOR: Gil Junger

PRODUCER: Andrew Lazar

SCRIPT: Karen McCullah Lutz & Kirsten Smith

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mark Irwin

EDITOR: O. Nicholas Brown

MUSIC: Richard Gibbs

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Carol Winstead Wood

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 24, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: December 30, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista Home Entertainment







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