Why 10 Things I Hate About You is the best rom com in all of history ever


Coco Bradford, Editor

On March 31, 1999, history was made. Lives were changed. The incredible movie, 10 Things I Hate About You, was released in theaters. This fantastic Disney movie, based on William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, takes place in a high school near Seattle, with all the stereotypical groups of teenagers and a compelling set of main characters including the nerd boy, the popular girl, the dark boy, and the outcast girl. It presents itself like any teen movie, but the beautiful production and true chemistry between characters takes it to another level. Its incredible soundtrack and exploration outside the norms of high school movies continue pushing it to the excellence it has earned.

The movie features two main love stories: the one between Bianca and Cameron (popular girl and nerd boy) and the one between Kat and Patrick (outcast girl and dark boy). The movie opens with the introduction of the school environment, and the sidekick Michael explaining the layout of the school to new kid Cameron. Instantly, he is interested in Bianca, the most unattainable girl in school because her dad won’t let her date. The rules change after a family conversation, and Bianca will be allowed to date when her older, edgy, disconnected sister Kat does. Upon learning this, Cameron makes a plan to get Kat a boyfriend so he can date Bianca. Michael and Cameron set out for someone who would be willing to put up with her, and they find Patrick. They trick Joey, who is also interested in Bianca, into funding Patrick’s pursuit of Kat. The story develops as we watch Patrick go after and truly fall for Kat and see Bianca not realize that Cameron is the guy she should be going for. Eventually, all is revealed, Kat forgives Patrick for his actions, Bianca finally goes for Cameron, and everyone gets a happy ending.

IThere is magic in this film, there are a few things that make it magical. First, the love stories seem true and heartfelt. Second, the music, styling, and personalities of the characters add a quirky and unique feeling that isn’t always present in movies like these. Third, the acknowledgement of a feminist viewpoint and the issues of relationships makes it all the more real. Last, the script and story, originating in Shakespeare, is funny and relatable throughout. 

In any rom com, there needs to be a relationship that you actually want to root for, and characters you actually support. In this movie, Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is instantly the shy, sweet, and caring boy-next-door that every girl imagines. He is gorgeously in love with Bianca at first sight, and it fills me with that familiar gooey feeling of jealousy. Throughout the movie, his persistent chase and defense of Bianca and commitment to her when he gets her elevates him to wonderboy status. Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) starts the movie as an arrogant airhead without much else going for her besides her beauty, but as she develops and realizes how much Cameron cares about her and how little Joey does, she lets her sweet side come out in a kind way.

The second, and main, love story, which starts as a paid pursuit from Patrick, turns into true love as they get to know each other better. Kat starts off as someone to root for because of her headstrong nature and witty remarks, and as we understand her motivations and the more positive, uplifting side of her, she only gets more appealing. Patrick is introduced as a scary, edgy outcast, and we know not much else about him. Originally, we don’t like him because of the fact he is being paid to pursue a girl, but then we get to see the lengths he is willing to go to get her, and we witness his actual falling as he gets to know the positive side of her and comes to appreciate her stubbornness. Their love brings out the best in both of them.

As with any 90s-2000s movie, the styling is everlastingly appealing. The clothes and hair that everyone wears are adorable, and the school is everyone’s dream high school. Watching a movie that is so aesthetically pleasing only adds to its wonder. The music, which ranges across ska, girl punk, and pop of the era, draws you in even more. Each song taps into the emotions of the scene and attaches a more sentimental feeling to it. The movie has stuck with me for so long because of the emotional connection I have to the music and story. Each character also has a clever sense of humor and a distinct personality, each which goes along nicely with their motivations. Even when they aren’t nice characters, they are attractive because of their defined selves.

In so many movies like these, there’s a complete ignorance of the idea of feminism and the power of the woman in a relationship. This movie doesn’t do a brilliant job with it, but it does have the sense to acknowledge and represent it. Kat is, in character, a passionate feminist who has no problem sticking up for her views. Her confidence and self-assurance alongside her attractiveness and successful relationship makes it seem possible for women to do both, which isn’t always clear. As far as Bianca goes, she is initially the ideal, no-brains girl that every boy wants. However, Kat and Cameron help her realize that she can be more than that and still be liked by people. Her progression throughout the movie is a clear indicator of the growth that can happen with high schoolers and the confidence that can and should be present. When she finally confronts Joey for being a douchebag to her, she punches him in the face. This is the manifestation of that confidence. Additionally, when Kat opens up to Bianca about what happened with Joey when she was a freshman– him breaking up with her because she didn’t want to have sex anymore–, they both are given the opportunity to see how men can be entitled and to find better such men for their own lives.

Of course, it must be acknowledged that the movie is based on a Shakespeare play. The magical connection of Shakespeare with human emotion and the beauty that comes with his storylines is timeless, and this movie does an excellent job of bringing it into a modern time. Additionally, there are a lot of cute references to Shakespeare throughout the film, including Cameron’s line “I burn, I pine, I perish,” Kat and Bianca’s last name, Stratford, Patrick’s last name, Verona, and plenty others. The tertiary love story between Michael and Kat’s best friend, Mandella, revolves around Mandella’s love for Shakespeare and the love behind his writing. The movie is excellent with bringing jokes into the modern time, as well as inserting the heartfelt truth behind the story. It is one of the best Shakespeare adaptations to this day, truly showcasing the beautiful story and amplifying it with styling, characters, and emotional strength.