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10 Things I Hate About You Movie Analysis

10 Things I Hate About You is a romantic comedy that portrays teenage love through an engaging story about two sisters and the boys’ attempts to impress them. The movie is based on the play The Taming of the Shrew written by Shakespeare in the sixteenth century, yet adapted to the reality of the American high school in the 1990s (Jackson 173). This paper aims to analyze 10 Things I Hate About You and discuss its dramatic compositions, characters, and themes.

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10 Things I Hate About You is a romantic comedy about the student Cameron James who was in love with a popular girl Bianca Stratford, whose father prohibited dating unless her older sister, Kat, started going out with someone as well. Considering Aristotle’s elements of drama, I liked that the story has strong spectacle and melody as the overall setting fits the characters’ feelings and experiences (Jackson 159). Although the movie’s plot was engaging, I disliked the diction and thought that were frequently unclear as it was challenging to understand the motives implied by the writers and the director.

The movie’s protagonist is Cameron who has to fight external obstacles to win Bianca’s heart and start dating her. The antagonist is Joey Donner, the bully of the school, and a significant challenge for Cameron to overcome, because of their mutual intention to impress Bianca (Junger). The unusual aspect of how the protagonist is portrayed is that there are few direct details, and the audience gets to know him via the reactions to others’ actions and events around the conflict.

The major dramatic question, based on the protagonist’s intentions in 10 Things I Hate About You, is ‘Will Cameron start dating Bianca?’. Indeed, the plot is built around Kat and Bianca’s father’s prohibition to have relationships before the elder sister does, and the school boys’ attempts to change Kat’s unwillingness to involve in romances (Junger). There are two instances of Chekhov’s Gun in the movie: the money paid by Joey to another boy to date Kat, and the guitar Kat held in the music store.

The major complications in 10 Things I Hate About You were Bianca’s father’s prohibition of date before Kat, and when the latter found out that Patrick was paid by Joey to date her. Consequently, the climax of the movie is the moment when the elder sister stops dating, and Cameron understands that more action must be taken to win Bianca’s affection (Junger). Cameron wins Bianca’s heart in the denouement after their kiss, and Kat forgives Patrick and stays with him, while Joey, the antagonist, does not get any benefit from the situation.

The movie’s creators attempted to demonstrate what challenges teenagers face when first love and affection occur in their lives. Indeed, the influence on parents, siblings, teachers, and schoolmates is displayed through the behaviors and reactions of the main characters on them (Junger). However, 10 Things I Hate About You also emphasizes that even complicated situations are worth resolving when people have feelings for each other. The director included many details, such as students’ poetry writing, singing, and dialogues about affection to show that it is an important part of a human being. In my opinion, the creators succeeded in portraying teenage love, and the movie was worth filming. The main themes of 10 Things I Hate About You are relationships in the family and between men and women, school life, and first affection. It was worth filming because these topics are relevant to many teenagers who may be taught a lot about life by watching this movie.

The movie contains parallels from Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew, and I was not aware of it because the setting is not related to the sixteenth century the English playwright described. However, such details as characters’ names, the unconditionally powerful figure of the father, music, poetry, and a contest between boys to win a girl’s heart refer to the plot and characters of the play (Jackson 176). The Taming of the Shrew might be described as sexist as women’s feelings and decisions are belittled for men’s benefit; however, the movie does not contain such motives. The relationship between teenagers and the actions they take to attract each other are common for their age, and no humiliation based on one’s gender is present.

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Works Cited

10 Things I Hate about You. Directed by Gil Junger, Buena Vista Pictures, 1999.

Jackson, Russell. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Screen. Cambridge University Press, 2020.

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