(Gil Junger; 1999)

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Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik and David Krumholtz

"How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways".

Cameron & Bianca at a party

On his first day at his new school, Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) instantly falls for Bianca (Larisa Oleynik). The only problem is that Bianca is forbidden to date until her ill-tempered, completely un-dateable older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) goes out too! In an attempt to solve his problem, Cameron singles out the only guy who could possibly be a match for Kat: a mysterious bad-boy (Heath Ledger) with a nasty reputation of his own!

Okay, enough spiel, what actually happens? Well on his first day Cameron not only falls for Bianca but befriends one of the nerdier members of the school - Michael Eckman (David Krumholtz) who shows him the ropes and helps him along the way for most of the film. When Cameron finds out about Bianca's dating rules (laid out by a father who is extremely paranoid of his daughters becoming pregnant) he decides to try and do something about it. Michael knows that the slimiest guy in school - Joey Donner - is also one of the richest and that he also likes Bianca. So he convinces him to pay bad-boy Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to try and date Kat. This in the hopes that Bianca will then be able to go out with him. All the while Cameron is trying to get her to like him. From there it is quite straight forward. There are some parties, a prom and Patrick manages to get Kat to go out with him, but then finds he really likes her and has to try and tell her that he first started going out with her for money.

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Patrick - Heath Ledger

This film is a modern interpretation of the Shakespeare play 'The Taming Of The Shrew'. (With the character Kat being the Shrew). But don't let that put you off. Despite the bard's involvement it is a good film none the less. There are good supporting characters and some nice new interpretations of teachers and guidance councellor's rather than the normal stereotypes you get. Also the directing is very good with fantastic shots here and there of the school, most noteably when the camera goes from next to Kat and Patrick right up above the school to reveal a band playing on the roof. And this is a tall school! The only annoying thing about this film is when Patrick decides to tell Kat about the arrangement he had with Joey. All the way through you are saying - tell her. Except for the time when he does. It is possibly the worst moment to tell her. But that's boys in teen movies for you!
This film is a fun film, with some great shots, a good cast and a great soundtrack. Well worth a couple of watches at least. It also has its own atmosphere to it, so it doesn't make you think of it in reference to other films of this ilk.

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