Titanic (1997)

Written and directed by James Cameron
(number 343)

I saw Titanic at the movies four times, once with my sister on Valentines Day because neither of us had dates. I remember my dad refusing to go and see it because he knew what happened in the end – the ship went down – but of course the movie is so much more than that. At the time it was cutting edge CGI, an amazing love story featuring everyone’s favourite floppy haired dreamboat Leo and let’s not forget, a massive movie event.

It’s cool to hate Titanic now, but at the time I’m pretty sure everyone had a bit of a love affair with it.

Watching it again I had somehow forgotten the framing device with Bill Paxton investigating the sunken Titanic and finding the charcoal drawing of Rose. It’s quite sweet really but not entirely sure why it’s necessary in an ordinarily long movie… maybe so that Cameron could show off his sea exploration footage or maybe so they can have the old woman voice over. Hard to say.

Kate Winslet is stunning in this movie, the dresses she wears are all stunning and she has all this gorgeous red curly hair and gah. And how awesome is the name Rose Dewitt-Bukater? I adore her. Jack of course is the devil may care lower class kid with a spark. In fact he’s pretty much a manic pixie dream boy when you look at it, her life is improved and her soul is sparked by her relationship with him and comes away with a greater understanding of herself and a greater appreciation of life. Interesting.

Billy Zane is a wonderfully smarmy and horrible in this, a true gentleman of his time who regards his fiance as his property and behaves as a total master of the universe. Then of course he does the worst possible thing which is to take an abandoned child to get onto a lifeboat.

The movie is pretty blatant about the class differences and how silly it is to judge someone because they’re not as rich as you are. It starts with the dinner stuff and escalates through to the lower class not being allowed to the decks where the life boats on and then to the lower class children crying and dying. It’s a harsh hammer of a message.

Does it make me love the people? Absolutely. I love older!Rose straight off, she’s adorable and cheeky and so very sure of herself. Young!Rose is interesting and capable and do you notice that she spends most of the movie making the decisions and saving Jack? It’s pretty great actually.

Kathy Bates plays an amazing Molly Brown, she’s the crass rich woman who says what she’s thinking and it’s awesome. I adore her.

One of the most heartbreaking moments is when a man is saying ‘it’s just goodbye for now, there’ll be another boat for the daddies’ as his children cry on the lifeboat. To me that’s more affecting than Rose and Jack trying to stay together.

Then of course you have the noble deaths, the man who put the boat together (pre-Downton Hugh Bonneville) staying to ensure the clock shows the correct time in the great hall, the Captain going down with the ship, the string quartet who play until they’re swamped. *tears up* what? I’m fine… just fine.

There’s just one thing that legit pisses me off about this film and that’s that Rose is shown to be in possession of some very famous works of art by Picasso, Monet and Degas and they go down with the ship. For a movie which is so careful to be historically accurate in a lot of other ways this seems like a weird inclusion.

Bechdel test: Yes, very early on with Elderly Rose and her granddaughter Lizzy, then again a few more times with Rose and her mother Ruth. Molly Brown speaks to Ruth and Rose as well.

Best line: wooooooooooooooooooooooo hoooooooooooooooo yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa I’m king of the woooooooooooooooooooooooooooorllllllllllllllllllld!!!

Jack: Well, yes, ma’am, I do… I mean, I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up in the morning not knowing what’s gonna happen or, who I’m gonna meet, where I’m gonna wind up. Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people. I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it. You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you… to make each day count.

State of Mind: Goodness that was a long movie. I love it though, I had forgotten how much of it I really enjoy. Plus me and Blair both laughed at a number of the jokes, despite having watched it before.

Watched movie count