10 Things I Hate About You

Touchstone Pictures (Producers), & Junger, Gil (Director) (1999). USA: Buena Vista Pictures.

In this version of The Taming of the Shrew set in a Seattle high school, paranoid single dad won’t let his sweet, popular younger daughter Bianca date until her fierce, feminist older sister Kat starts dating. This, he figures, will keep Bianca home forever. Kat has just been accepted to Sarah Lawrence,and her father refuses to let her go away to school so far from home. Joey, a jerky popular boy, pays a rough, mysterious student, Patrick, to date Kat so Joey can get to Bianca. Also in the mix are nice new kid Cameron, who fell in love with Bianca at first sight, and his social mentor, uber-geek Michael. Just as in the original, there are lots of misunderstandings and cross-purposes, but as Kat and Patrick spend time together, they begin to see that they are in fact well-matched, just as the childish Bianca and the goodheartedly immature Cameron are better off together. As is obligatory in teen movies, things culminate at the prom, where Kat finds out that Patrick was paid to date her, which may ruin everything

Reader’s Annotation
Bianca is the cutest girl in school; her sister Kat is the meanest—but until Kat is dating, Bianca has to stay home. Popular narcissist Joey starts the plot in motion by paying Patrick, a student with a mysterious past, who is said to have eaten a live duck, to go out with Kat.

If teens like YA because they see themselves there, there should be TA—for teachers to enjoy portrayals of themselves. My favorite thing in this movie (besides the insane gothic turreted high school and the beautiful Seattle settings) is the irascible young black teacher, especially when he kicks Kat out of his room every time he doesn’t feel like listening to her, and his interactions with the white rastas in his class. It’s a cute movie—the attraction between Patrick and Kat, especially after he stops smoking and starts washing his hair, is very believable. The supporting cast is great, especially the father , the young teacher, and most of all Allison Janney as the bodice-ripper-writing guidance counselor, Ms. Perky. Not as good as John Hughes though.

YA Romantic comedy

Curriculum Ties
Use with Taming of the Shrew if challenge issues surmountable

Booktalking Ideas
The overprotective doctor dad and his pregnancy suit.
Shakespeare remakes
Compare the two sisters and people’s responses to them.

Reading Level/Interest Age
PG 13

Challenge Issues
Sexual humor; drug and alcohol use w. teens; bad language

Why Included?
YALSA 2009 Fabulous Films for Young Adults

Selection Tools
YALSA 2009 Fabulous Films for Young Adults

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