Revisiting the Heath Ledger Classic, 10 Things I Hate About You

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Revisiting the Heath Ledger Classic

I will let you in on my secret annoyance. The hate and judgement romance movies get will always be among the top most annoying things in our world. While I don’t disagree that some romance movies are just pure toxic, and also plain stupid, there are some really beautiful ones. The kind that we are blessed to have seen or even know to exist. Romance is the one genre that can have love as the central theme and so can experiment, communicate and take the audience on the most emotional trip without compromising on other themes. And every person who rolls their eyes on listening to a love story is the one who secretly cries about Titanic and Notebook. 

Romance movies have been equated, stereotypically, as something only women can enjoy. Is it because of how vulnerable the characters can get through the story? Or is it simply because romance movies do not necessarily rely on shock and gruesome factors such as violence to drive a point. Maybe that is why Joey from Friends is such a beloved character, he owns his interest in stories such as Little Women and Titanic. For all macho males, if you think that diminishes his “masculinity” then you might want to rewatch Friends. 

For all romance lovers and even the people who are now bullied into watching a romance film, the best and definitely a must-watch is 10 Things I Hate About You. If you are still not in the 21st Century and have to justify watching this film then this movie also stars Heath Ledger aka the best Joker. 10 Things I Hate About You is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous play, The Taming of the Shrew. While it is definitely not a direct adaptation, it does justice to the overall content and idea behind the story. 

The Amazing Cast of 10 Things I Hate About You

Starring Julia Stiles as my idol, Kat Stratford and Heath Ledger as Patrick Verona, the movie also includes Joseph Gordon Levitt and Larisa Oleynik. As can be seen, the cast is great, to say the least. Directed by Gil Junger and produced by Andrew Lazar, the movie is a perfect mix of comedy, drama and heart-eyed swooning. 

There are only two movies that I give the title of non-toxic enemies to lovers and those are Pride and Prejudice (2005) and 10 Things I Hate About You. Both these movies do the trope of enemies to lovers in the most appropriate way possible. The relationship between the characters is not fueled by them being horrible things to each other and then making up for it (read: After series). It is based on the connection and genuine want to be with each other. while doing all that, the two stories also manage to deliver the most important part of enemies to lovers which is the banter. 

Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger have great chemistry that has both the innocence as well as the passionate intensity that is required from such a trope. Their characters are opinionated and will not shy away from taking their stand. So the banter that they have is the kind that I envy. It goes without saying that the delivery by the actors was also so perfect that I was on the edge of my seat way too many times. 

Stiles is a performer more than she is an actor. She engages the audience by simply being present. Just standing in a corner or dancing on top of the table (yes, that is a scene in the movie), Stiles makes sure every person in the room knows that she is present. Even in the scene where Heath Ledger is singing on top of bleachers, one can’t help but also stare at Stiles. Ledger is having his own little musical moment but it is Stiles reaction that really sells the entire scene to the audience. 

Joseph Gordon Levitt in 10 Things I Hate About You

I can’t talk about Joseph Gordon Levitt. The actor who has marveled the world in projects like The Trial of Chicago 7, Snowden and obviously, Inception, played the role of Cameron who is a young teen trying to impress Bianca (Larisa Oleynik). Unfortunately for him, Bianca is Kat’s sister. She cannot date till Kat dates which Bianca considered to be a harsh rule. While Levitt may not have been the protagonist, his character is the reason why there is any romance in this film. He asks Patrick to take Kat on a date so that he could date Bianca. Now here is the most fascinating bit, Cameron and Patrick are not related by Levitt and Ledger looks so identical in this film that it is pretty cute. It is fascinating for a straight girl to watch.

10 Things I Hate About You also aged well. Kat’s character didn’t diminish with the introduction of Patrick which is saying a lot. The bar is low, unfortunately. On top of that the sets! It has the most perfect nostalgic feel of 90s high school as if the creators knew that 23 years down the line, people who weren’t even existing during the 90s will be looking back at it and melting. They will fondly look at Heath Ledger and Levitt raising the standards of relationships and courtship while also laughing boldly at every smart sarcastic comment that Stiles delivers with conviction and unstaggering confidence. Another thing that shockingly aged well is the fashion in the movie. I would never wear any of the old Disney fits from those years but would I kill for Kat and Bianca’s outfits in that movie? Absolutely. Patrick totally beat the fashion of every other 90s hit male character and Cameron may not have style but at least Gordon was able to pull it off. 

Last but not the least, the writing. Impeccable. Beautiful. Tear-Jerking. Hilarious. Take Cameron’s line as an example, “I burn, I pine, I perish.” Forever mood. The entire movie is a cinematic genius because there is continuity for the smallest of things. There is a scene where Bianca is in gym class practising archery, she gets frustrated and swivels causing her to let the arrow go off into the side. The writer made sure to include a person getting injured and limping away even though the person contributes nothing to the scene. 

A high school brawl is included in the shot right before the end credits roll in. the story is more than just a couple falling in love because it is about high school. They play around with a lot of things that one can see around in school and even in early college which increases the relatability factor. Years may have passed but does a paintball date ever get old. Does writing an entire piece dedicated to one person and presenting it to a whole set of people ever stop being sweet and vulnerable? No. Heath Ledger singing on top of the bleachers or carrying a drunk Kat, who is a phenomenal dancer will always be etched into my memory just the way this movie is carved into the list of the top film classics. A romance movie that shows that over the top love is not necessary to make a great romance story. 

The Movie Culture Synopsis

Now go watch 10 Things I Hate About You on Disney+ Hotstar and Hulu.