10 Things I Hate About You
directed by Gil Junger
(Touchstone, 1999)

10 Things I Hate About You is a modern take on an old classic, a new interpretation of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. It has received wildly mixed reviews. It has been called everything from a "chick flick" to a "teeny-bopper" movie. Do not believe these labels. Watch this one and decide for yourself. I would bet that you enjoy it.

The plot is cute. A widowed father gets tired of hearing his youngest daughter whine about not being able to date. He tells her she can date when her older sister starts dating. The problem is that the older sister is not interested in dating. What's a girl to do? As the sisters battle over the issue, a boy with a crush on the younger pays another boy to take the older sister out. Now, we have a fully tangled web.

My favorite character was the wise-cracking father, played by Larry Miller. Anyone with children can certainly empathize with his situation. He will have you laughing out loud -- Miller was wonderful in this role!

Julia Stiles plays Katarina, the older sister, in one of her strongest, most believable performances ever. (In an interview, Stiles said she was concerned about a scene in which she had to act drunk because she never had been -- so, with her father's support and supervision, she got drunk at home. It must have worked because she did a jam-up great job!)

Larisa Oleynik plays the younger sister, Bianca, and was perfect for this role. She played it without a hitch. Her lines were smooth and credible. Her expressions and body language were superb. She was simply marvelous.

Andrew Keegan is outstanding as the rich, pampered model, Joey Donner. He plays the role to the max and makes you fume every time he appears on the screen. His act was to perfection! Joseph Gordon-Levitt is precious as the young, innocent and rather mousy Cameron James. He melts your heart and makes you hope he gets the girl. His performance is strong and he fits the part well. But Heath Ledger stole the show! He plays the tough guy, Patrick Verona. He is the bad boy that you cannot help but love. You want him to win at all costs. His performance is spectacular and he displays an ability to act an extremely wide range of emotions and situations. He is superb!

A review of this movie could never be complete without mention of Miss Perky, the school counselor, played by Allison Janney. She is hilarious -- I mean, knee-slapping, hoot-out-loud funny! She is a not-so-grossly-exaggerated portrayal of modern student counselors. I think she must have been modeled after a college counselor I had in California. You cannot watch this woman with a straight face.

Like so many people, my favorite part of this movie was the scene in the football stadium when the boyfriend sang "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." I especially loved seeing him dancing while evading the security guys. You have to see this one! You will be rolling with laughter. It is too cute!

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 22 February 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.