A few weeks ago, sitting on the futon with my Mama, I was watching the best film I’ve seen recently (and I’ve seen two or three since then). This wasn’t my first time, nor was it for my mother. However, it’s a film that have bonded us together and it only made it stronger a few weeks ago. I should give a little background. Back in the day, there was extraordinary hype for this movie; and I’m not talking about pop culture. The lead, Leonardo DiCaprio, was THE guy every girl in my school loved (and for many years!) But I never saw Titanic. Even when it hit record-books; even after some of my friends, not once, or twice, but saw it three times in the theaters, I never did. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t.
Years go by and I don’t think much about the film. I think I almost saw it once, but the VHS tape was screwed up. However, on one random Saturday evening, I finally saw it with my mother when it was airing on television. I was in high school then. We were both in tears by the end of it and without any discussion, knew we loved this film. The story was well-written and well-acted. Much of my review for the first time I saw it, still rings true today. The only big difference is that I now understand the meaning of death, the value of life and the meaning and value of love. Being a pre-teen girl doesn’t really compare to the twenty-something woman I’ve become and the experiences I’ve gone through since then. Titanic is a masterpiece story about love, sacrifice, coming-of-age and tragedy.
The film began with a story that I liked. However, it starts off sort of anti-climatic and I think that when one goes in to see this movie, they expect the story to begin right with Jack and Rose. So, it’s sort of a let-down even before the real meat of the story begins. This isn’t necessarily true to me, but I can see some audiences not hooked onto this immediately. But when the scene of the ship finally arrives, we’re in for a great ride.
I’m not sure if it was my background experiences with this and/or my teen-girl ideals of love and boys, but I was completely taken by this film. Although a little longer than most films, this one captivated me with my whole being for that time. I don’t think another film can or has ever done this to me like this one. Mom and I, sitting comfortably with a blanket warming our legs, watched with much focus. Kate Winslet, who plays Rose, is impeccable. Her portrayal of being in the unfortunate position of having to marry a man, who she does not love, but who is also someone I couldn’t stand; arrogant, selfish and having the biggest ego. I immediately sympathized with her conflict to want to make her mother happy, but also herself happy.
Leonardo acted so well as the hopeful Jack. It was easy to fall in love with him. He tries hard when it’s needed the most and he’s able to step back and have some fun when the opportunity arises.
The pace of the film was better than I remembered. The plot unraveled cautiously and carefully and I think it worked well with the time period it was set in; early 1900s; when people took their time. Even having watched this, a small part of me asked, “How are they going to work? How will they come together?” But that was easy, I guess. They respect each other and love and appreciated the other’s (so-called) “handicaps.” Rose was rich and Jack was poor, but respect was still present. She was shy and sheltered and he was full of life and passion. The common thread that held them both together were that they were both strong-willed individuals who wanted to live honestly with love and happiness.
The film shots helped build the action and emotion in the film, as well. I recall one scene where the wide-shots showed how enormous the ship was and how urgent the sinking was. Another scene was when Kate goes and tries to find Jack and the water slowly rises from the floor. This built up the suspense, but also a heavy heart. I felt so overwhelmed. I wanted them to survive.
Needless to say, this film is on my list of top films. Not just because I liked the characters and the costume/designs (of sets) were amazing, but because it was an overall well-made film. It wasn’t only visually fulfilling, but also emotionally gripping. For me, a great film is able to establish a strong story foundation, portraying that story and then connecting that story to the audience; whether it’s a comedy or a drama. Also, my mother, who is notorious for never really finishing a film in one sitting, couldn’t stop watching it. That’s a good sign in my book.
If you’re undecided on the next film to watch, I highly recommend re-visiting this one. It’s one you’ll enjoy.