Reviewed by: Dave Rettig
“How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.”
The Stratford girl’s are as different as night and day. Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), sweet, simple, popular and desperate to date; Kat (Julia Stiles), antisocial, antiestablishment, antiauthoritarian, and determined to avoid the opposite sex. Dr. Stratford (Larry Miller) is positively opposed to either girls' participation in the prom and comes up with a solution for Bianca’s problem and his… Bianca can date when Kat does! Enter Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and crew with a devious plan to capture the heart of a shrew.
A clever update of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” “10 Things I Hate About You” combines subtle allusions to the Bard in a modern medium. I love the occassional dialogue throw backs to the original “Shrew” (“I burn, I pine, I perish”). I was pleased with the sharp performances of the young actors and actresses, who handled the complexity of characters in Shakespeare’s plot with amazing ease. A well done film.
“Ten Things I Hate About You” is rated PG-13 for crude sex related humor and dialogue and alcohol and drug related scenes. Rightly so. There is quite a bit of inuendo throughout the movie, most of which a Christian audience will find unnecessary. Although no racier than Shakespeare’s original (albeit a bit more blatant), “Ten Things” does have enough sexual content to justify a warning. Parents with teenagers could use Kat’s comments about her sexual experiences being a negative result of peer pressure as a launching point to discuss a difficult topic.
Furthermore, Dr. Stratford’s ignorance is bliss; yet, still ignorance and, as Christian parents, we cannot ignore the fact that teenage pregnancy is virtually the same in the Church as in the world. This movie also touches the hard topic of teenage alcohol and drug abuse. Although treated lightly in the film, Christian parents can use this to talk with the young people God has put in your life about the perils of drugs and alcohol.
All said, well done. If you take a teen to this movie, the negatives should be thoroughly discussed from a biblical viewpoint and not ignored or avoided. These are real issues in the real world! And maybe you can hook your kids (or yourself) on the works of the Bard! Shakespeare can be fun!