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» 10 Things I Hate About You, discussion & reviews of the movie
post Mar 11 2012, 12:49 PM
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10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

"10 Things I Hate About You" heralded the arrival of several new faces to the big screen. In particular Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger illuminated each other very well.

*** of ****
Rated: PG-13
Length: 97 minutes
William Shakespeare (play)
Karen McCullah Lutz (screenplay)
Kirsten Smith (screenplay)
Director: Gil Junger
Heath Ledger: Patrick Verona
Julia Stiles: Katarina Stratford
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Cameron James
Larisa Oleynik: Bianca Stratford
David Krumholtz: Michael Eckman
Andrew Keegan: Joey Donner
Susan May Pratt: Mandella
Gabrielle Union: Chastity
Larry Miller: Dr. Walter Stratford
Daryl Mitchell: Mr. Morgan
Allison Janney: Ms. Perky
David Leisure: Mr. Chapin

Katerina, a senior at a Seattle high school, has been anti social for a few years now while her sophomore sister is eager to go out and date. The sister is not allowed to date until Katerina does, but nobody wants to have anything to do with her. Plots develop to get past that problem as other complications ensue.

It was a very good movie. The movie is peppered with Shakespearean references to keep you thinking about it's roots, and is fast moving to keep your attention. Just to be picky, the Ten Things poem near the end actually lists thirteen things, with a couple redirections and a conclusion, but that's fine.

The post credit out takes make it plain that the editing for continuity and story line was done to smooth out ruffles more than to reduce run time. This also makes every scene important in the development of the plot. What struck me as unique about the movie was the combination of appropriately talented and cast actors so that every character was well done.

Larry Miller as the dad, Dr. Stratford, got the most laughs from the audience, and set the tone for the whole movie.

I suppose "10 Things I Hate About You" could also have been titled "Healing of the Shrew." Kat is a weak coward. She buries her pain and fear from her mother's departure by avoiding any further form of socialization and keeps herself at a distance from everyone but Daddy. In reality, a protective father like Dr. Stratford would have had his kids in counseling soon after their mother split, but of course that would end the film a few years before it started. Julia Stiles is very good at completely sucking the audience into her characters emotional state. This is particular useful because she is a good crier. Her highlights are the dizzying misdirection speech she gives in the detention room, and the now infamous table dance.

Bianca evolves much sooner and more clearly than Kat. Kat's evolution which starts at Club Skunk is treated somewhat lightly possibly because in part there is no unawkward way to quickly begin the transition. It is when she writes the poem that Katerina shows that she has grown up enough and has the strength to deal with her feelings. Only when she arises to read her poem to her social group (the class) that Kat shows genuine Courage.

Heath Ledger as Patrick Verona gets some of the best lines, and he delivers them well because of his mature carriage. He handles all aspects of his character well, but the direction near the beginning needed adjustment. That may be part of the results with the editing. That really is him singing.

The actor who appeared to be having the most fun, Andrew Keegan, portrays Joey Donner, he seemed to be having a ball as the only thing close to an antagonist in the movie. Donner the cannibal sucking the marrow of life from the bones of humanity. Given the Shakespearean naming of the more favorable entities in the film, Verona, Stratford, and even Padua, I suspected the screenwriters were making a cut on the culls they knew in high school and beyond, but only they know what they were thinking. He was very effective in his role.

The movie was filmed in Seattle & Tacoma with bright clear blue skies. It must have been summer. The soundtrack is very good, although the use of sound was itself very limited. The cinematography was excellent with it's sweeping and intricate movement that added to the scenes.

This was overall an excellent screen adaptation that is worth seeing.


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