“It is Victorian values and culture that are indicted by the failures of the Titanic, and those are what go down with the ship in our eyes…” Comments from us and extracts from a script report by our trainee Daniela Piper-Vegh, based on a reading of the script of multiple Oscar Award winning TITANIC: http://movie-scripts.net/T/Titanic.pdf
AUTHOR: James Cameron
PREPARED BY: Daniela Piper-Vegh
The central love story between Rose and Jack is heartfelt and engaging. There is an element of chance to their meeting onboard the ship, making their love affair seem all the more precious and special. Rose’s romantic interest in Jack makes her a more appealing character, as it shows her wanting to break free of the restrictive upper-class shackles. Rose is able to experience an invigorating new-found freedom with Jack, allowing her to indulge in her passion for art. Jack and Rose’s relationship is filled with conflict, due to his lower-class status, and the fact that Rose is engaged to an upper-class Cal Hockley. Rose and Jack’s first prolonged interaction, with Rose attempting to jump off the side of the boat, is itself a powerful and dramatic moment. It is important that Jack does not seem to judge Rose for her suicide attempt, but instead helps her to keep her secret from Cal and her acquaintances. It is touching when Jack expresses pity for Rose, saying that her suicide attempt made him think ‘what could have happened to hurt this girl so much she thought she had no way out’. After this moment, Jack becomes the one person who Rose can confide in, and who has her best interests at heart.
The story has very strong commercial appeal, and the visuals are well suited to a cinematic audience. The structure of the story is clear, due to the old Rose’s frame narrative. There is a multitude of conflict, most notably situational and inter-personal. There is also plenty of fresh conflict throughout the story, which is particularly impressive considering that the outcome of the ship sinking is revealed at the beginning. The script manages to create a good balance between romance and tragedy, as well as the occasional outburst of humor and wit. A strong emotional connection is forged between the audience and the main characters Rose and Jack, with the audience becoming heavily emotionally invested in their survival. There is also a good balance between action and emotional development, with a varied pace that keeps the audience engaged and entertained. The character of Rose could be made slightly more likeable, as she is repeatedly shown as acting in a selfish manner. The audience would be able to empathize with her more, following Jack’s death, if she were shown to be less selfish. The ending, with Jack dying and Rose surviving due to his sacrifice is very moving but at the same time, it is deeply upsetting. The audience is left to mourn Jack’s death, whilst holding Rose somewhat accountable. It would be more effective to downplay Rose’s part in Jack’s death, making it seem more like a tragic accident. This would help draw the audience’s attention back to the real-life tragedy, encouraging them to mourn for all of the unfortunate victims of the shipwreck, rather than for just one fictional character.
If the main conflict is that the ship sinks, how do we get through the first half of the story? The real central question is whether Jack and Rose’s love can survive. Why is it that a class struggle is played out so large in this setting? Because – the author implies – it’s Victorian values and culture that are indicted by the failures of the Titanic, and those are what go down with the ship in our eyes. Jack represents the go-for-it, self-made-men of the 20th Century – he even unwittingly quotes Bob Dylan “When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose” which is probably anachronistic and implausible, but helps us root for his and Rose’s ‘modern’ values and relationship above Cal and his class who are happy to see the working classes, and class transgressors such as Rose, go down with the ship, as long as they can maintain their pretences.
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