Digital Editor Halima Ahad revisits a Shakespearean chick flick classic on its 25th anniversary

third year eng & creative writing, aspiring journalist, former culture editor and current digital editor <3
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It has been 25 years since the iconic film 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) hit our screens and changed the meaning of love forever. Based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, the film explores many important themes across early 2000s cinema including family bonds, friendships and love. It is most definitely one of my favourite chick flicks and I will be exploring the significance that the film still holds 25 years after its release.

The film follows Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) who is a smart, determined young woman who doesn’t let the shackles of society define her. For her younger sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), this means that there are numerous restrictions on her love life and she cannot date until her older sister does. But when Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) comes onto the scene and tries to date Kat for a pact, will she fall for his charm?

In regards to Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, the film replicates the plot of the iconic play nicely. The sisters Kat and Bianca have differing interests and the eldest (in this case Kat) is the ‘shrew’ whilst the youngest is deemed desirable in the eyes of society. The men therefore try to tame the shrew in order to win the younger of the sisters over. In the high school setting of 10 Things I Hate About You, the dynamics are very funny to observe as the audience witnesses how the younger teenage boys try to get past the strong-headed attitude of Kat in order to woo Bianca.

The film explores many important themes across early 2000s cinema

The film’s 25th anniversary has been celebrated with Cineworld cinemas exclusively screening the iconic romcom across the UK. The film ought to be celebrated as it comes with many iconic lines, typical old-fashioned cinematography and a fantastic plot.

One of the lines in 10 Things I Hate About You which really stood out to me came at the beginning of the film – from a scene in which Kat and Bianca argue about high school popularity and if looks truly matter in the end. Kat retaliates near the end of the scene with ‘you don’t always have to be who they want you to be’ which I think perfectly encompasses her character as a whole. Kat doesn’t let high school expectations define who she is… unlike her younger sister Bianca.

The early 2000s cinematography can be seen throughout the film and it has a very comforting effect in my opinion. Here, we can see what cinema used to be like. The cinematography compliments the soundtrack massively as well, since many famous songs are played throughout the film. In one iconic scene, Kat dances on the table at the party to Biggie’s ‘Hypnotize’; the scene was amazing to watch as we see Kat in her element, feeling truly confident about herself in front of those who judged her.

A really enjoyable film, exploring complex sisterly bonds and love interests

However, audiences will never forget the final scene of 10 Things I Hate About You in which Kat recites her poem for Patrick: expressing her love for him. The lines ‘I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call / But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close. Not even a little bit. Not even at all’ are unforgettable. Kat’s poem and declaration of love for Patrick shows that love truly does conquer all in the end despite the obstacles that came along the way

Overall, 10 Things I Hate About You is a really enjoyable film, exploring complex sisterly bonds and love interests. The iconic soundtrack and well-drawn cast of characters only make the film extra special. 10 Things I Hate About You is a film that should be celebrated every day for its unique approach to Shakespeare.

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