Why 10 Things I Hate About You is the only film adaptation of Shakespeare to watch this weekend

Why 10 Things I Hate About You is the only film adaptation of Shakespeare to watch this weekend

Because Heath Ledger

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: Getty Images

Remembering Shakespeare, 400 years on: Why does this 1999 film adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew remain a classic? Because of these killer lines

1. "I don't give a damn about my bad reputation"

Yes, we know they're Joan Jett's lyrics to Bad Reputation — the use of this song at the start of the movie set the stage for our introduction to Kat's character, played by Julia Stiles. Let's face it, Kat was the strong female character we all hoped we were, even as adults now. 

Julia Stiles

2. "I burn, I pine, I perish"

In Shakespeare's late 16th-century classic, Lucentio eyes Bianca as a prize. In the film, we're introduced to an 18-year-old Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cameron pining over Bianca, played by Larisa Oleynik. Fans of 3rd Rock from the Sun squealed at the actor's endearing take of a love-struck teenager.

"You can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?"

The perennial question. As it turns out, you can't be whelmed just in Europe — Merriam-Webster defines "whelm" as "to turn (as a dish or vessel) upside down usually to cover something".

4. "What is it with this chick? She have beer-flavoured nipples?"

After finding out that two boys are after Bianca, Heath Ledger's character Patrick Verona asks a question that neither of them has the answer to.


Heath Ledger

5. "You don't buy black lingerie unless you want someone to see it"

Ah, words of wisdom from a teenager. Bianca confidently informs Cameron of the intentions of an unassuming pair of black panties. Cue pubescent sexual tension.

6. "It's just a party! ....Hell is just a sauna."

The girls' father utters some of the most memorable lines in the film, including this slight freak-out when Bianca intends to go to a party. He comes from a good place though — the single dad has seen many a teenage disappointment in his line of work as an obstetrician.

7. "Don't touch anything in a bar, you might get hepatitis"

More wise words from a self-righteous teenager. But lets face it, we've been to some bars in our youth we didn't dare touch the countertops of with a 10-foot pole.


8.  "D
on't make anyone ever make you feel like you don't deserve what you want"

The scenes between Ledger and Gordon-Levitt are gems. Besides, if only we listened to Ledger's words — we might have skipped the whole awkward, self-doubting phase of teenagehood altogether. 

9. "Am I that transparent? I want you, I need you, oh baby, oh baby."

Half the movie's spent wanting to strangle Stiles for being so uptight, but really, it's also a form of praise — how does one refuse the then-exotic Aussie charms of the late Ledger? With a lot of wit under the influence of Shakespeare's often dry humour, of course.

Julia Stiles

10. "I know Shakespeare's a dead white guy, but he knows his shit"

Daryl Mitchell's portrayal of the stereotypical angry black man is pretty spot-on, calling out Bianca's "upper middle class suburban oppression". As her English teacher, he sheds some truths — indeed, 400 years on and after 37 plays and 154 sonnets, Shakespeare's themes in his works are timeless and universal. As it turns out, he does know his sh*t.