Yesterday, this column reviewed "Heathers," a dark comedy about distressed and distressing high school students. For a lighter comedy about the vagaries of high school, watch "10 Things I Hate About You," which came out in 1999.
"10 Things I Hate About You" is based on Shakespeare's comedy, "The Taming of the Screw." In this 20th century version, Cameron (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a new student, meets Bianca, a popular sophomore, and wants to date her. Her strict father does not want her to date, but says she can on the condition that her sister, Kat (played by Julia Stiles), a senior, dates as well. Kat is strong-willed and independent and most of the high school set do not like her. Cameron and his friend Michael go to Patrick (played by Heath Ledger), who is very mysterious and allegedly an outlaw, to convince him to date the unappealing Kat.
"10 Things I Hate About You" features great performances from everyone in the cast. Heath Ledger is excellent as Patrick. He is mysterious at first, but he turns out to be a good guy as the story moves on. Julia Stiles is equally good as Kat. She is a very contrary young woman who slowly falls for Patrick. Ledger and Stiles have great chemistry together. Another strong performance is by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, playing the new kid who is desperate to date Bianca.
"10 Things I Hate About You" is a good choice for fans of the late Heath Ledger. He shows here that he had a lot of talent and would have been a great star if he had lived.