Once a month, people from all over the valley gather at the Arizona Science Center after hours for a screening of a film. I wrote a bit about last month’s film choice: Clueless. This month, following the theme of love for Valentine’s Day, the film choice was 10 Things I Hate About You. This film is definitely among one of my favorite ‘rom-com’ titles and it was extremely exciting to be able to see it on this gargantuan screen (the Arizona Science Center is actually a member of the GSCA – the giant screen cinema association!).
Just like She’s The Man and Romeo + Juliet, 10 Things I Hate About You is a modern shakespearean film. The Taming of the Shrew was always one of my favorite works of Shakespeare and this adaptation fits perfectly. For those that haven’t read The Taming of the Shrew (or those that said they read it but actually didn’t) it is the story of a rich young man named Lucentio, who is a new arrival in the city of Padua, to attend the local university. Lucentio was excited to start his studies but then he laid eyes upon Bianca, and it was love at first sight. However, Lucentio realizes there is a few problems with trying to court Bianca: she has two suitors waiting in the wings; and Bianca’s father has declared to all that no one can court Bianca until her bitchy sister, Katherine, is married. Lucentio figures that he can get around this rule by becoming Bianca’s Latin tutor.
Bianca’s suitors decide to take care of ‘the Katherine problem’ by bringing in a friend from Verona named Petruchio. He has one goal in mind, marry a rich woman no matter how awful she is so he was the perfect man for the job. He agrees immediately to marry Katherine and travels to her house to meet her, which doesn’t go over well at all. Katherine insults Petruchio over and over again, but it does not deter him. Petruchio tells her that he will marry her whether she wants to or not. However, the day of the wedding, Petruchio is extremely late and arrives in the exact opposite of in-style, in an ugly outfit on an old horse. After the wedding, Pertuchio forces Katherine to leave with him for his country house, where Pertuchio attempts to tame her by basically starving her until she acts appropriately. Bianca ends up marrying Lucentio back in Padua, and when Katherine and Pertuchio return, everyone sees that the shrew has been well and truly tamed.
Now it is pretty obvious to see some of the more problematic elements to this story (I mean, starving someone until they start to like you sure sounds like Stockholm Syndrome to me…), but I think 10 Things I Hate About You was really able to successfully incorporate the aspects of this story that work really well and leave out the parts that might not have been appreciated for a high school centered cast. It is also very obvious the similarities between the film and the play. The younger sister keeps the name Bianca, although they adapt Katherine’s name to Katarina in the film. The tutoring aspect to get close to Bianca was also kept the same, although the means to woo Kat differed from the source material – understandably so.
Heath Ledger was phenomenal in this film. He was such a presence, able to be both silly and serious. It honestly made me a bit sad to be reminded of his talents and how they were taken away so early. His chemistry with Julia Stiles was electric. Kat’s wit and overall unpleasant demeanor actually meshed very well with Patrick’s charming devil may care attitude. The majority of the audience were long time fans of this film. It’s cultural impact was palpable at the Arizona Science Center. Everyone waiting to enter the theater was quoting lines from the film (a personal favorite of mine being “Hello, Katarina. Make anyone cry today?” “Sadly, no but it’s only 4:30”). Everyone could relate to one character or another that was portrayed in this film and it resonates with a lot of people. I was pleasantly surprised to see the entire theater shed a tear at the famous ‘things I hate about you’ speech.
I highly recommend checking out the play (here:The Taming of the Shrew ) or the original screen adaptation (here: The Taming of the Shrew Film ). But if you aren’t feeling too adventurous, I’d say this rainy Valentine’s Day would be the perfect opportunity to veg out on the couch and watch 10 Things I Hate About You (which can be bought here: 10 Things I Hate About You )