My first memory of Titanic is hazy albeit memorable. I vividly remember sitting in a dark movie theater next to my mom and dad; having my mom cover my eyes during Kate Winslet’s nude scene and of course, running out of said theater when the passengers starting falling to their deaths. Seriously though, can you blame me? Needless to say, I was not a fan. All throughout my childhood, I had a bad taste in my mouth whenever Titanic was mentioned.
But, that all changed on my thirteenth birthday. I excitedly unwrapped one of my presents, only to have my face fall when I realized it was Titanic. At first, I thought it was a joke. My dad, who was the one who gave it to me, told me I should give the film another chance. I chided him for buying me a dvd for a movie I’d never fully seen and probably wouldn’t like. He smiled, amused, and told me, “Don’t worry. You’ll like it.”
Since he’d gone to the trouble of buying it for me, the least I could do was watch it once before selling it back to the store. However, after watching it, I felt a little different. To say I was blown away by the movie would be a gigantic understatement. I think it was really the first time I had seen what film as a medium was capable of – the scale of it. Now, I know some people reading this will think that’s trite and say, “Oh, a girl who likes Titanic. Big Whoop.” This public opinion is exactly the reason I shied away from the film initially.
That summer, I became a little obsessed…meaning I watched the film constantly, ate up the special features, and sang “My Heart Will Go On” over and over and over again. I think I became a little hard to live with quite honestly. I know my brothers won’t forgive me for how annoying I was during that time. But, even though I went a little off the deep end at thirteen, I’m tired of people discounting the film as some cheesy romance film that only girls like.
This film is an old school epic, on par with Gone with the Wind, which to this day, is still the top grossing film of all time. These films just don’t get made anymore. Titanic was made to appeal to a wide audience, not a specialized one. James Cameron is said to have pitched the film as Romeo & Juliet aboard the Titanic. After I became obsessed with the film, I read quite a bit about the real-life disaster which happened in April of 1912. The heart-wrenching stories I read astounded me. James Cameron could’ve used any one of them as a basis for the story, but he instead, decided to create fictional characters – which is sort of genius. He personalized the tragedy and was given full liberty to make the characters be and say whatever he wanted them to.
If you’ve never seen the film, here are just a few reasons you should look past its blockbuster reputation…
Let me just reiterate. The late James Horner’s sweeping score brings the film to life. I had the score on CD for a while and would routinely listen to it and relive my favorite moments in the film. The music is inextricable from the film. Just as an example…
Though you’ll hear many say the opposite, I believe Titanic’s enormous success was all about the strength of their cast. Starting with its young leads, Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio (who just finally won an Oscar! Yay Leo!) and rounding itself out with character actors Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Titanic made you believe in the characters and the story. It sounds strange to call Titanic fun, but that’s exactly what it was. The chemistry they had made the cheesy lines charming.
Beyond the charming nature of the film’s cast, what makes this film believable is the detail with which this world was built. It’s of course well known that the film was very expensive and that it went WAY over budget. In most cases, I would say that big budget films spending the kind of money Titanic spent is egregious. But, in Titanic‘s case, you can see where the extra money went and it really does make a difference. Even though I knew it was fake, the beauty of the costumes and sets, made me forget, if only for a moment, that I was watching a movie.
Okay, now before you get too excited, obviously the film is clichéd. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you. But, I do think that although it was calculated, the film was also charming and relatable. Rose’s predicament, while being something that could have been the premise of a romance novel, was something we all could feel. When she tries to jump off the side, we all feel her pain. But, really, I look at it as a story about a young girl who is changed by an event – obviously what she goes through is terrible, but she comes out the other side a stronger person and she lives a full life.
Also, I love how the film comments on the class system in the era and especially how class affected the people in this tragedy. Most 3rd class passengers never even had a chance to get off the boat.
Okay, so it’s cheesy. That doesn’t mean it’s not good. One of my first crushes was Jack Dawson and I’m not ashamed to say so. I feel like I can let these gifs explain. Let the nostalgia wash over you…
If you’ve never seen it, your life is about to change. I think there is something for everyone in this film and I love changing the minds of my friends who think it’s nothing more than a cheesy love story.
My love for this movie will go on and on…too cheesy?
Vintage trailer below: