Junger, Gil. Ten Things I Hate About You (DVD -- feature film) Touchstone Pictures, 1999. $15.62, ASIN: B00000K31Q
Plot: Based on William Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew, the story hinges on two sisters, Kat and Bianca Stratford. Kat is the eldest, a punkish feminist who is entirely jaded and difficult to have around and Bianca, her popular and much less complicated younger sister. When Cameron, a new boy, arrives at the high school, he instantly falls for Bianca in spite of his new friend's warnings that she is shallow and will crush his heart. He employs Patrick Verona, a bohemian tough, to woo her so that Bianca can go out with Cameron. Verona has no idea what he's getting involved in when he says yes, and Kat is truly unpleasant whenever he attempts to win her heart. Eventually, he begins to chip away at her steely armor and sparks begin to fly. But what will Kat do when she discovers that he was paid off to be nice to her?
Critical Evaluation: This is a fantastic movie, full of witty banter, memorable characters, a strong female protagonist, a complicated male protagonist, and it is one of the best teen romantic comedies ever created on film. Julia Stiles is perfect as Kat, a punkish girl who is enamored of the riot grrrl bands inhabiting Olympia, Washington at the time of its creation. Heath Ledger is the perfect romantic partner for her, a combination of dreamy and tough, and his complicated history means that no one can really understand him. Both characters connect over their wounded past histories. The plot is fast-paced and the comedy is smart and winning, with only a few scatological jokes. All of the actors excel here, making this a wonderful addition to a collection. The Shakespeare connection is a bonus, but this film stands on its quality alone.
Reader’s Annotation: When an angry girl is wooed by a mercenary bohemian boy, sparks fly.
Author bio: Born in 1954 in New York City, Gil Junger is a film and television director.
Junger's only critical hit was the film 10 Things I Hate About You, but he has also directed the films Black Knight, If Only, and a spinoff on Get Smart.
Curriculum Ties: English, Drama.
Interest Age: 13+
Challenge Issues: There is some profanity and a couple of sexual jokes, but this film is relatively tame. I would keep the reviews on file, keep the collection policy on file, and know the content of the film well. The fact that it's based on Shakespeare may help with a challenge.
Why Included: It's a funny, smart film that contains references to Shakespeare and it has a wonderful romance.