A story in which the fiery character of Katarina Stratford meets her match in school tough guy Patrick Verona. Menawhile Kat’s younger sister, Bianca, has to learn the difference between the arrogance of sleazy Joey Donner and the new boy in school who is sincere and true, Cameron James.
Promotional Material: The promotional material for a film can give you far more than just the movie credits. If you study the poster for the movie there are a number of visual and verbal techniques used to inform the viewer so that he/she can make predictions about the content of the film.
The intended audience
The genre of the film
When and where the film is set
How recently the film was made
New boy at Padua High, Cameron James, is attracted to the beautiful and innocent Bianca Stratford at first sight but is soon warned by buddy Michael that she is out of bounds. Her protective father will not allow Bianca to go out with boys until her elder sister, the unpopular Katarina, starts dating. Cameron and Michael come up with a plan to convince the rich and sleazy Joey Donner to pay school rebel, Patrick, to date Kat, thus leaving the way free for Joey to date Bianca. In the meantime Cameron stays close to Biance by tutoring her in French. After initially spurning Patrick, Kat accompanies him to the school prom where she learns about the deal between Patrick and Joey. Although the course of true love never runs smoothly, the film finishes with a happy ending for all four teenagers.
In 10 Things I Hate About You, what appears to be the main story (how Cameron can get to date Bianca) is swallowed up by what appears to be the subplot (the development of the relationship between Kat and Patrick). The audience becomes more interested in what is happening between them than in whether or not Cameron and Bianca will end up together. The problem of Cameron wanting to find a way around Mr Stratford’s rule is used as a springboard to tell the story of Kat’s initial rejection, then acceptance, of Patrick.
Name the characters that fit within the stereotypes below:
Kat’s father accepts her right to make decisions on her own
Mr Stratford tells Kat that he has sent a cheque to Sarah Lawrence College
Cameron is determined to date Bianca.
7. In a group of two to four choreograph and perform a dance for Bogie’s party, Club Skunk or the prom.
8. Produce a news report for radio, television or newspaper about the gatecrashers at Bogie’s party.
9. Create a storyboard or comic illustrating a key scene in the movie.
Setting: In a film the setting is most often established at the beginning. Its purpose is to orient or position the viewer in the world they are going to occupy for the length of the film.
In 10 Things I Hate About You the first thing you see is a city. The camera sweeps towards the right, over the harbour and suburbs, and then moves closer to the particular street where the story begins. You can tell that you are in a comfortable suburban street- the houses are large and well maintained, people are walking along the street and there are many cars. It is summertime and from the clothes and music you know that the story is modern.
The setting is refined further when we follow Kat into the school quad. You know for certain that the world you are going to occupy is that of high school students. Knowing what you do about the environment you might be able to predict some of what is going to occur in the film.
What does the outside of the Stratford house tell us about the family?
Look at the way the camera allows us to travel through the window into the Stratford’s living room.
How does that make you feel?
What does it suggest about what we are going to see?
Patrick is reluctant to go to Club Skunk.
What sort of place is it?
Give the reasons for you opinion.
Create an alternative setting for one of the scenes in the film. Write a rationale explaining the reasons for your choice and what you want the setting to convey to the audience.
Suggest ways in which you could alter the temporal setting of the film.
Imagine you wanted to set the film in the 1960s or earlier. How could you convey this to the audience in the opening scenes?
Transpose the film to an Australian setting.
Where would you choose? Why?
How would types of language and groups need to change to make is more authentic to an New Zealand/ Australian audience?
Script the scene in the quad where Michael explains to Cameron who the different group are. Make your language reflect the groups and setting of Westlake (if it were a co-ed school).
Directors make use of stereotypes to manipulate audiences to form judgements about certain characters based on their appearance. The clothes characters wear, their hairstyles, make-up, even the way they walk and talk combine to create an impression in the audience of what they are like.
Sometimes a director subverts the stereotype and contradicts the audience’s expectations. Miss Perky, the school counsellor, looks quite conservative. The first sign that she is not what she appears is communicated to the viewer by a close-up showing the words of the steamy novel she is writing. Cameron does not see what the viewer sees, so he doesn’t realise she is unusual until she swears and makes a rude gesture.
What impression do you get of the secondary charcters? (Michael, Joey, Mandella and Mr Stratford)
A film text such as 10 Things I Hate About You needs many characters to tell the story. The audience is usually only interested in the main character or characters because the story is centred around them and their problems.
10 Things I Hate About You has a plot and a subplot, each of which has its own set of characters. The two plots come together in the resolution (ending).
You will recall that we learn about characters from a number of sources. The words and phrases below are what the characters have said about themselves, what others have said about them and what can be surmised by their actions.
Snotty little princess
Doesn’t scare easily
Doesn’t care what others think
Doesn’t care about others
Induces fear in others
Used to be popular
Divide into groups of 6 and take one of the following characters each: Kat, Bianca, Cameron, Patrick, Michael and Joey.
Select words from the list above which describe your allocated character.
Form a group with the other people in the class who looked at the same character.
Share you list with the people with the same character and create a list that you all agree upon. If there a words you do not agree on then try and convince the others in the group to add it to the list.
Return to your original group. You will all have different characters. Share your work so each member of the group has the same information on all six characters. (i.e. copy them into your book!)
The Stratford sisters:
First impressions:Bianca- a young, beautiful and innocent sophomore.
Kat- academic and alternative she is difficult and unpopular.
Our first glimpse of Kat is when the camera pans from the girls in the sports car over to Kat in her bomb. This immediately sets up a contrast between Kat and the girls. While the four girls are together, Kat is alone. They are bright and bubbly, Kat looks cross and moody. Their car is new, Kat’s is old. They have taken care with their appearance, Kat has not.
Our first view of Bianca is through the eyes of Cameron. This means that the audience’s initial introduction to her will be filtered through Cameron’s point of view. Bianca is presented as she walks towards Cameron, past him and joins her friend. She looks fresh and innocent and immediately captivates Cameron. What he does not hear, but the audience does, are the comments Bianca and her friend are making about the difference between like and love. This reveals to the audience two of Bianca’s personality traits, triviality and superficiality.
At this stage the audience doesn’t know these two are sisters, although most of them will have guessed this already because of the knowledge they bring to the film from its pre-release promotion, posters, DVD and video cover and even their familiarity with the teen movie genre. What the audience knows for sure is that the two aren’t going to get along and so the stage is set for conflict.
Kat and Bianca live with their father, a gynocologist, who is bringing up the girls alone. He is protective of his daughters and each daughter has a different reaction to this,
Kat has no intention of dating, so her father’s decree that his daughters aren’t allowed to date until after graduation is not a problem for her. For Bianca, however, this us an immense problem as she wants to date Joey.
Kat is ambitious and wants to study at an east coast school; she craves independence and the right to make her own decisions. Bianca’s ambitions are more modest: she just wants to be allowed to date.
Key Scenes: These scenes help us to understand the relationship between the two sisters, their attitudes and their differences.
The girls bickering before and after Mr Stratford comes up with his new rule.
In the bathroom Kat notices Bianca wearing their mother’s pearls.
Kat agrees to put in appearance at Bogie’s party so Bianca can go.
At the party Bianca tells Kat not to talk to her.
Kat tries to tell Bianca about Joey.
Bianca punches Joey at the prom.
Bianca asks Kat to go sailing with her and Cameron.
These scenes establish the relationship between the sisters. They are dissimilar and their relationship is characterised by animosity. Bianca is portrayed as being self-centred and immature. Kat agrees to got o Bogie’s party only so Bianca can go, but once there Bianca tells her sister not to talk to her. Jealousy and rivalry are evident in their exchange about their mother’s pearls. Ironically Kat tries to warn Bianca off Joey but is unsuccessful until Bianca discovers what Joey is really like for herself.
The relationship between the sisters develops, changes and grows throughout the film. Kat becomes more vulnerable and less rigid in her outlook while Bianca learns to appreciate and respect her sister.
Study the scene that takes place in the school quad between Kat leaving her car and entering the building. What does this tell you about Kat and what the other students think of her?
How does the film reveal that Kat and Bianca are sisters?
Write Kat’s diary entry for the day she discovers Bianca wearing their mother’s pearls. Explore her feelings about the absence of her mother.
Imagine that Kat does start the band she talks about, that it is successful and she is interviewed by ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine about how the band got started. Write the interview into a feature article.
As Kat, write a series of five diary entries showing your feelings about Patrick’s interest in you.
An interesting contradiction within Kat’s character is that although she claims not to care what people think and doesn’t fit into any particular group at school she adheres to the stereotypical philosophy of modern feminists. Discuss.
The Lovers: Patrick Verona: Patrick’s wit is established when we first meet him in Ms Perky’s office. He jokes with her using his word play and is charming and cheeky without being rude.
Patrick establishes his disregard for rules and the opinions of others by his behaviour at school. He leaves Mr Morgan’s class after arriving late, is the subject of some outlandish rumours and cultivates a tough image. Predictably though, beneath the frightening exterior, he is kind and decent.
Patrick is mature in a way the other students aren’t. This is conveyed to the audience through what he eventually reveals to Kat, dispelling the myths that surround him. It is also conveyed by his behaviour and circumstances: he makes no reference to his parents other than to say his mother lives in Australia; he looks older that the other characters; he goes to bars and is independent- he doesn’t need to be part of a group.
Cameron James: Cameron’s arrival at Padua High kick-starts the action in the film. His attraction to Bianca and the unwelcome news of her father’s rule creates the problem Cameron has to solve by devising the elaborate plan to find someone to date Kat.
How well does the audience get to know Cameron?
Is he a developed character in the same way as Patrick?
We know he is an ‘army brat’ and that his family moves around a lot. But apart from his being hurt when he realises Bianca is interested in Joey rather than him, we learn very little about him, and his joy when she changes her mind and kisses him, we learn very little about Cameron. He seems to exist only in relation to Bianca. His qualities of determination, devotion, dedication and dejection are all centred on one goal- attaining Bianca.
His friendship with Michael is rather one-sided. While Michael is supportive of him and even comes up with the plan to involve Joey in the scheme, Cameron doesn’t reciprocate. He is so single-minded in his pursuit of Bianca that he fails to notice how excited and nervous Michael is about going to Bogie’s party. Michael accuses him of being self-centred, mirroring what Cameron later asks Bianca about her always having been selfish.
Once Cameron has succeeded in winning Bianca he has little involvement in the remainder of the film, which focuses on Kat and Patrick.
Joey Donner: Joey is the guy we love to hate. As a foil to Cameron he stands in the way of Cameron achieving his goal. While Cameron is genuinely interested in Bianca, Joey is only interested in himself and wants to date Bianca because she represents a challenge to him.
Joey is labelled early in the film as rich and stupid, an impression which is further confirmed when he draws on Michael’s face. His ego and vanity are matched by the size of his wallet, making him a perfect target for the role of financial backer. Joey has no trouble accepting that Michael’s payback in the deal would be being “cool by association” when Joey acknowledges him.
Joey takes himself very seriously and this provides the audience with a lot of laughter at his expense. His deliberations about whether the white or black t-shirt is best, his identical poses for modelling swimwear or underwear, and his ignorance about ‘pensive’ and ‘thoughtful’ meaning the same thing delight the audience, as does the punch he receives from Bianca at the prom.
List the rumours about Patrick.
What is the mystery that surrounds Patrick? Where did he spend the last year? What does this say about him?
Patrick said he was in the scheme for money. What made him change his mind about Kat? Using a flow chart, plot the progress of his thinking starting from when Joey approached him on the sports field.
Write Patrick’s response to Kat’s poem.
Give Cameron a life. Create a family, interests and hobbies for him consistent with what we earn about him in the film. What subjects is he good at?- We know he doesn’t take French.
Create a Joey Donner webpage for his fan-club.
Compare the ways in which the characters of Patrick and Cameron have been developed. What conclusions can you draw?
Imagine it is one year after the film. What are Patrick, Cameron and Joey doing now?
Michael: Michael provides a lot of the humour in this movie. His antics on the motorbike leading up to his accident and the contrast between his motorbike and the ones outside the bar where he and Cameron talk to Patrick are very funny. He is also the victim of Joey’s cruel ‘artistic’ prank.
One of the funniest scenes in the movie is at the party when Michael launches into his Lord of the Dance Routine after unsuccessfully attempting to woo some girls. The inappropriateness of the dance at a teenagers’ party and the way Michael performs the movements give the scene a comic edge.
Despite this, Michael is very clever. He is a future MBA (Master of Business Administration- a very prestigious degree) and has been accepted into an Ivy League college. He comes up with the idea of getting Joey to finance the plan for Patrick to date Kat, and he gets revenge on Bogie by having all the kids arrive at his home.
Mr Stratford: Unlike Michael, Mr Stratford doesn’t try to be funny. He is a source of humour in the film because he is so over protective of his daughters that what he says and does is funny. His terror at the prospect of his daughter dating is excessive- he likens a party to an orgy and hell to a sauna- and results in Bianca being forced to wear “the belly” before she goes out, as a reminder of what dating might lead to. Patrick’s rhetorical question “Who knocked your sister up?” would have to be one of the funniest one-liners in the movie.
Kat is more tolerant of her father than her sister is. This reflects her understanding that he is trying to protect, not restrict, his daughters. Bianca is too self-centred and immature to appreciate the difference.
Although Kat thinks that their father prefers Bianca, he is proud of Kat and is glad when Bianca becomes more like her. His sending the cheque to Kat’s choice of college symbolises his acceptance of her right to make her own decisions.
Plot Michael’s master plan in the form of a flow chart. Use ‘what if’ questions to show how he could deal with things that don’t go according to plan.
As Mr Stratford, write a journal entry in which you confront your feelings about the loss of your wife and raising you daughters alone.
10 Things I Hate About You uses minor characters to:
Give authenticity to the setting
Introduce the main characters
Complete the storylines
Miss Perky and Mr Morgan:
The school counsellor’s office is where we first meet Cameron and Patrick and where Kat is sent when she gets kicked out of class. No-one watching the movie would mistake Miss Perky for a real school counsellor, thus reinforcing one of the film’s themes- appearance versus reality.
Mr Morgan’s behaviour, too, is incongruent with a real teacher. It is ironic that as a teacher of English, he is unable to tell that Kat is genuinely interested in the poetry assignment and accuses her of “messing” with him.
Bogie Lowenstien and Mandella:
Bogie is a sad reflection of the man he will become. Old before his time and excessively conservative, he practices his golf drives, hands out cigars, dresses in the style of a middle-aged man and is pale, unattractive and somewhat stooped. He betrays Michael who gets his revenge by inviting the whole school to Bogie’s party, knowing they will trash his house.
Although Mandella shares many of Kat’s views, she is more moderate in her outlook. She also provides Michael, the real mover and shaker in the movie, with a love interest which he expresses by exploiting her obsession with Shakespeare.
Characters are developed only as far as required by the plot. To what extent to you think this is true of the movie?
As the director, produce a set of notes to guide the actor playing one of the minor parts. Explain how you want the role played and why.
So, what is the problem?
The central conflict in 10 Things I Hate About You is introduced early in the film when Michael tells Cameron that the Stratford sisters are not allowed to date. The way Cameron goes about solving this problem gives the film its plot and is the impetus for other conflicts such as:
Getting someone to date Kat so Bianca can go out with Cameron
Finding someone to give financial backing to the scheme
The rift between Kat and Patrick after Joey reveals the truth.
Another conflict in the movie is the animosity between the two sisters. This is hinted at when Kat sees Bianca and Chastity drive off with Joey, and reinforced in the first scene in the Stratford’s home by the way the girls speak to each other and what they say.
Animosity is also evident in the relationships amongst the students. This is manifested in the clear demarcation between the groups and by the name calling such as ‘Fabio’, ‘Trailer Park’ and ‘Screwboy’.
Kat is also in conflict with her father about her desire for independence in choosing where she goes to college, and with Joey, the cause of which is revealed later in the film.
List as many conflicts in the film as you can.
Why is Mr Stratford so determined his daughters should not date until they graduate?
What do you think it says about our society that we cheer when Bianca punches Joey? Does it make a difference that it is a girl hitting a boy? If so, what does this reveal about our attitudes not only towards violence but towards men and women?
Contrasts and parallels: differences and similarities
Film uses a combination of visual and language techniques to give information to the viewer. Two ways of doing this are through the creation of contrasts and parallels.
Contrasts are created to show the differences between characters.