10 things I hate about you, is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew by Kirsten Smith, Karen McCullah, directed by Gil Junger.
I saw the film a while back but only read the script recently. I remember the film as funny, with good actors (it had the unforgettable Heath Ledger after all) and great comic timing, it fulfills its role of a high school rom-com quite well.
The script, serving as the blueprint for that film, is quite well written too. It is concise yet imaginative, the dialogue is funny and lends itself to that sweet, giggly-warm feeling a rom-com should aim to inspire.
The pacing, the character and plot arcs, the use of stereotypes and the subversion there of, all are pretty good. Where the film perhaps falls short, and this is only through the lens of a reader in 2020, is its depiction of men, women and love.
The manner in which Kat’s character is shown to have a thick skin, hiding a soft heart, is rather done and plays into the trope of, hurt woman who puts on a brave front. This is only exacerbated by the descriptions used to describe her. When she wears modest clothes, she seems repulsive, when she dressed sexily, she incredibly desirable. It is also only when the hero sees her dressed as such, does she become desirable to him, making him seemingly superficial as well.
Furthermore, the notion that everyone eventually will desire a partner, feels dated, more so when the partner they choose offers little in the way of complexity and is mostly doing the bare minimum that a guy should- respecting the lady as an equal. Should that really be the bar for date-worthy men or women?
Of course, like I said, I say this, fully aware that I have the benefit of time on my hand. The film, aside from this is actually quite entertaining, with fun, likable characters, all with distinct voices, clear goals, and flaws.
Thus the film manages to hook you despite its superficial treatment of love and lovers.