This past weekend I had the enjoyment of watching the 1967 version of “The Taming of the Shrew” starring Elizabeth Taylor. As I was chuckling over the elegant masterpiece, I was reminded of a modern interpretation of the Shakespearean play that I had not seen in a long while: “10 Things I Hate About You.” This modern retelling, directed by Gil Junger, stars Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Larisa Oleynik.
When Cameron (Gordon-Levitt) falls for the beautiful Bianca Stratford (Oleynik) he is determined to win her heart. Too bad for him though, Bianca’s father (Larry Miller) has made the ultimatum that Bianca will not be allowed to date until her feminist, anti-conformist older sister, Katarina (Stiles), dates too. So, with some careful planning, Cameron just needs to get someone to take Kat out, but the only one who doesn’t seem intimidated by her is the scary bad boy Patrick Verona (Ledger), who would never go out with Kat, unless maybe there was some money involved.
It amazes me how people interpret classics into modern day settings. You can see all the little hints throughout the movie. The title for instance is very similar sounding to The Taming of the Shrew, and the names Bianca and Kat names are pretty much the same in the play. Patrick’s last name is the birthplace of his corresponding character (Petruchio). Also similar to the original play is light comic air and the vibrant emotional characters.
I love how the characters react to one another. Cameron’s innocent nature is a stark contrast to the brooding personality of Patrick, especially when he’s asking him for help. The hilarious situations are so entertaining along with Kat’s sarcastic dialogue. There was plenty of slapstick humor in both the ’67 version and the modern interpretation.
This is a classic tale that I feel is excellently portrayed in a modern setting. The characters are perfectly portrayed and their gradual growth throughout the movie is wonderful. I suggest watching the 1967 “The Taming of the Shrew” first and then watch “10 Things I Hate About You” to get the full experience of this timeless tale.
Kathleen Ellison is a freshman majoring in communication and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org