10 Things I Hate About You 1999 Film Analysis

Posted: June 7th, 2024

10 Things I Hate About You 1999 Film Analysis

The 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You portrays unique and specific areas of emotional relationships and shows the progression within the various characters. Being beauty first, Cameron and Joey’s hang up first is ‘Bianca’s beauty while Kat’s striking out grasps them to look at her (Badia, 2006). On the contrary, when the story develops, ties that have nothing in common with typical stereotypes of Native Americans and foreigners strengthen. They make the basis for emotional intimacy and comprehension. These different layers of love drive the characters’ development and relationship progress. The essay highlights the themes of attraction, interrelationship development, and interpersonal relations theory, as seen in the film. More so, the essay seeks to apply the Social Exchange theory in explaining the characters’ behaviours and choices in relationships.

This film shows that the relationship of different types of attraction creates the love lines between the main heroes and heroines. At first, the appeal originates from physical beauty, and one can see that the two freshmen are immediately so fascinated with Bianca’s beauty, as can be noticed in Cameron and Joey’s reaction and the grown interest in Kat’s appearance. However, in-depth bonds pop up in the proceeds of the study (Hautsch, 2018). The difference, however, demonstrably has a primary role in the manner perceived that Cameron and Bianca have shared interests and Kat and Patrick’s common acceptance as nonconformists. The closeness of the relationship between Cameron and Bianca and the way Patrick attempts to set up chance meetups between Kat and Kat makes it much easier for them to be familiar (Herbison, 2022).

However, it is the process of developing a sincere feeling for each other over time that essentially helps the growth of attraction. As the two grow closer, sharing sensitive emotions and a private space, the tension and the initial unwillingness between them are resolved, and they hold feelings instead of animosity. The subjects understand the connectedness of these layers of attraction, which will ultimately affect their character development and drive the personal growth in their relationships. Finally, the movie shows how the beginning of a flame that results from infatuation can later turn into profound and strong love when it grows together and is formed by shared experiences, understanding, and emotional closeness.

In the movie, the characters’ relationships follow a trajectory of development involving both the heightening and de-escalating phases of the relationship. In the beginning, characters are drawn to each other in part by physical attraction, and sometimes, Catherine’s choice of interactions with Bianca is a good illustration (Hautsch, 2018). As they go on, they talk only about the surface-level and common interest themes, such as the ones seen in Cameron’s efforts to know Bianca better. Consequently, further links develop through mutual experiences and shared emotive bonding since Patrick and Kat’s relationship unfolds in such a way. As Bianca and Cameron go deeper into the integration, their lives and routines are twined up so that they are more engaged (Badia, 2006). However, they receive their formal commitment or recognition of significance in the form of Kat and Peter’s sincere reconciliation and acknowledgement of love through the show of heartfelt feelings.

In contrast, the de-escalation stage includes differentiation, in which, at first, the idealized views appear and then communications between the couple become limited, resulting in emotional detachment (Hautsch, 2018). The wheel of development thus stops, leaving romantic relationships that are void of the ability to grow or have any sense of depth, as witnessed in Bianca turning down Joey. Avoidance and termination of the relationship end eventually, as shown by Kat’s leaving the prom when she finds out Joey’s motives. The meeting resulted in their relationship being close.

Social Exchange Theory can be related to this film for this particular point. This theory suggests that people opt for relationships based on deriving value and utility from them by maximizing benefits and reducing costs. Subjects to be considered are benefits or costs, reference group and reference level for alternatives (Ahmad et al., 2023). The benefits refer to the great feelings or outcomes a relationship may bring, while costs imply the bad aspects of a relationship or sacrifices made. The comparison level has two sides: one involves measuring your relationship’s quantity of achievements against your expectations, and the other is appraising whether the current relationship is superior or the same with possible alternatives (Badia, 2006). In the film, characters consistently evaluate the advantages and downsides of their relationships with every choice. For instance, Bianca cares about Joey’s social status and popularity, imagining him to be a good catch despite the fact that he represents the shallow world to her. However, after Clara discovers Mal’s motives and experiences emotional struggle, she rethinks her life, and then she chooses Cameron, who gives her affection and care at last (Herbison, 2022). Also, face the determination of Kat and Patrick within the relationship on what they perceive as the advantages and disadvantages, and after conquering the obstacles, they defy the brighter side of vulnerability and pursue a relationship based on Social Exchange Theory.

In conclusion, this film depicts the complicated nature of attraction and romantic development through the characters’ journey. The film shows how an initial obsession can grow into a heartfelt connection. It portrays that the main ingredients of those deeper connections are shared experiences, understanding and vulnerability, which these physical attractions can turn into everlasting relationships. In connection with the Social Exchange Theory concept that people are trying to get the most from the least risk, the characters do what they can to get what they want and avoid what they don’t want; this is how they end up having meaningful relationships.




Ahmad, R., Nawaz, M. R., Ishaq, M. I., Khan, M. M., & Ashraf, H. A. (2023). Social exchange theory: Systematic review and future directions. In Frontiers in Psychology (Vol. 13). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.1015921

Badia, J. (2006). The bell jar and other prose. In The Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath. https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521844967.010

Hautsch, J. (2018). “One of your little pop culture references”: Argument, Intertextuality, and Literary Affordance in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fanfiction. Slayage, 16(1).

Herbison, V. (2022). Sisters Are Doing It for Each Other. USURJ: University of Saskatchewan Undergraduate Research Journal, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.32396/usurj.v8i1.569

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