Many movies follow the typical “Hollywood pattern”, that is, they provide no greater meaning, no deeper purpose, than solely to entertain. However, this is not the case, as shown in ’10 Things I Hate About You’, directed by Gil Junger. The movie explores important ideas and themes, such as, the role of women in the 21st century, peoples judgments and the power that Shakespearean symbols hold. The movie breaks down the idea of the liberated woman of the 21st century. This is shown throughout the movie, but one main example is when the script-writer surprises us when we learn Kat’s reason for being an anti-emotional person.
Scene 20 portrays the transformation in Kat’s life when her emotional poem reveals her love for Patrick. During the poem Kat surrenders to Patrick by crying in front of the class and admitting that “…mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you…”, shows, through the use of a paradox, that Kat wants to hate Patrick but can’t. By using the repetition of a strong word like “hate” throughout the poem to make the once harsh word sound like a polite word used to describe one’s love. The movie also highlights that Patrick can control her. This is shown when Patrick gives Kat a guitar to make up for what he did.
Patrick shows us that he knows that he has the power to control her, by saying “There’s always drums, and bass, and maybe even one day a tambourine”. Junger employs the use of shot/reverse shot editing to show Patrick’s reaction towards Kat when she is reading her poem. During editing Junger purposely makes the last shot in the scene longer to show Patrick and allow the viewers to process and think about what just happened. Another issue that is raised is about the stereotypical role of women in the 21st century is whether a woman needs a man to feel complete.
This is suggested because the movie ends with everyone in a relationship. Also Kat says that she is an individual and does not like any males that go to her school. She later starts a relationship with Patrick, who goes to her school. This shows Kat’s transformation. The ending suggests to teenagers that to be “normal” you need to be in a relationship. The movie has an underlying message about being judgemental. Junger uses the setting of the school because during high school is when we are most judgmental.
When we first see Kat, Bianca, Cameron, Patrick, Joey and Michael we are judgmental towards them. We judge them on the way they dress, speak, present themselves and by where they live. We as viewers watch Michael as he shows Cameron all the different groups in the school. We too as viewers of the movie are judgmental of Kat and Bianca. We first view the animated title and credits while girly music is playing, we than go into an establishing shot where we see the upper class suburb, with freshly mowed lawns , people walking their dogs, and flash cars.
Bianca and her friends pull up at the pedestrian crossing; they are bouncing along to the music, this symbolises the “normal” fun-loving teenager. Then Kat comes along, in her beat up car. When the camera goes into a medium shot of her, the music changes into angry girl music, “I don’t give a dam about my bad reputation”. Bianca waits for the pedestrians to cross before continuing, but Kat drives through without waiting. This juxtaposition immediately makes us judge Bianca and Kat.
The juxtaposition continues at school, when Cameron first sees Bianca, Junger uses non-diegetic sound creating moods which affect the viewer; it makes us believe that she is innocent. The use of juxtaposition makes us judge Kat and Bianca to the extreme thinking they’re not related in fact they’re sisters! The use of Shakespearean symbols explores important ideas and themes, showing the deeper purpose of the movie: to deliver a Shakespearean message to teenagers. Throughout the movie there are lots of references to Shakespeare, giving clues on the inspiration of the film.
A suggestion that the movie is delivering a Shakespearean message is when the English teacher, Mr Morgan, raps a Shakespearean sonnet. This immediately makes it appealing to teenagers. Another suggestion is the use of words that are stereotypically Shakespearean. One example is when Cameron first sees Bianca and Cameron describes how he feels “I burn, I pine, I perish”. Using these Shakespearean words gives teenagers a better understanding of what they mean. There are many references throughout the movie to Shakespeare’s life.
Included in this is Bianca and Kats’ last name, Stratford, is a reference to Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-Upon-Avon. The school’s Shakespearean architecture castle like design is a visual reference. We are shown the design of the school at the beginning through the use of a crane shot. In scene 12, when Cameron and Michael advise Patrick to sacrifice his dignity to balance things, Michael uses Shakespearean language. This turns teens off, but when Patrick replies with “hey, don’t say shit like that, people can hear you”, brings the humour into the Shakespearean message. 10 Things I Hate About You” is not just another teen movie. It is a teen movie with a deeper message, a message about life. It addresses how women were perceived in the 50s, how teens don’t like Shakespearean language and how we are judgemental to people when we first see them. The movie includes posters in the classroom that makes us question out actions in life: “The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat oneself” and “What is popular is not always right; what is right is not always popular! ”