Ever wondered about tales from the past? How things were so different back then? How are they different now? Has time betrayed our values or have we betrayed time?
Here’s a movie that we all have probably watched, both while growing up as well as now. Remember those literature classes that seemed so boring and the teacher tried to make it interesting by making you watch the movie in hopes of any reaction at all? You can now enjoy those same stories because of some of the wonderful works of directors bringing them back with a fresh new perspective.
This is one that’s not so recent yet not too old in the movies. Julia Stiles rocked the set with her 1999 performance in 10 Things I Hate About You. For all the Shakespeare lovers (or haters, if you will), 10 Things I Hate About You, is a modernisation of the famous play Taming of the Shrew. Stiles played the character of Kat “the shrew” (or Katherine from the old play) and Petruccio “the tamer” became Patrick (played by Heath Ledger).
The stories are similar, with few changes that the change in era had to bring about. In Taming of The Shrew , the wealthy father of the two sisters, Katherine and Bianca is on a hunt for husbands for his daughters. Bianca, the prettier and more ladylike of the two, is more sought after. But the father demanded that Katherine “the shrew”, being the elder one, must marry first. Bianca’s admirer, Lucentio, wants to marry Bianca and so he finds Petruccio, who wants to marry Katherine only to “tame” her.
The late 1990s brought us an entire modernisation of the story with a similar plot.
Kat and Bianca’s father, Walter, forbids Bianca from dating until Kat starts dating too. Bianca, being the extroverted popular girl in school, gets irritated by her sister, who is incapable of attempting any positive interaction with any human. Bianca has two choices, Joey and Cameron, for her date to an upcoming dance. The two rivalling dates find a rebellious teenager Patrick, who they hope will attract Kate since Bianca cannot date unless Kat does. Patrick wins Kat’s heart through often hilarious and ridiculous attempts, thus, “taming” her repulsion towards human interaction.
And what timing! This April marks the 38th birthday of Heath Ledger if he was with us today. Almost a decade since his passing, we still swoon at his role in 10 Things I Hate About You. RIP pretty boy, Ledger. Thank you for bringing in spice to the old tale and getting us closer to that A* in literature! And of course, you rocked as the Joker in The Dark Knight!
That wasn’t the end of 10 Things I Hate About You. The movie led to a TV series with the same title. Set in early 21st century American high school setting, the show depicts the typical high school life where the biggest problem seems to be who’s popular and who’s wearing what. And then there is Kat who just wants to stand and out and refuses to conform.
Although the show ran for only 20 episodes after which it was cancelled by ABC Family, it showed us all that Shakespeare’s timeless insight of human nature is pretty relatable in our time too.