Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wasted Wednesday: Why Titanic Doesn't Have to be Viewed as a Love Story

I know, this is such a weird blog topic...but I feel like it is one that needs to be discussed.  A few months ago, my neighbor and I went out for ice-cream and discussed multiple things such as politics, and religion.  Just kidding.  Actually, we mostly talked about video games, books, TV shows, and films and came up with a lot of great discussions.  One of the films that got brought up was the one, the only, TITANIC.
Titanic is said to be one of the greatest films of all time by certain standards.  Tween and teen girls alike love the romance aspect to the film and tears always seem to be shed by the end.  Even guys enjoy the film for it's action packed plot.  Film buffs love it for it's cinematography and direction, music buffs love the score, romance buffs (okay, okay - teen girls) love it for the tear-jerker ending and historical buffs love seeing this mind-blowing event being brought to the big screen.  Perhaps this is why Titanic is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time - because it appeals to a large audience.  Not only that but just the idea of a film being centered around such a tragic event will get any ordinary movie goer on the bandwagon.  No other film about the sinking ship was ever made quite so well.
However, while there is a large chunk of people who adore the film, there are also those who despiseTitanic claim that the film is overrated: a cliche love story, and quite frankly, there are film makers putting out much more authentic work than this Hollywood blockbuster.  In some regards, the haters are right.  My neighbor was one of them, claiming to me that he not only didn't like the film but wasn't into cheesy love stories.
it.  The haters of
I can't quite explain why I reacted the way I did to this comment.  Perhaps it is because for a good amounts of years Titanic has been considered a favorite movie of mine and I always feel an urge to defend it.  I also never really thought the love story was like other loves stories in Hollywood.  Lately I have noticed the films drawbacks and can't say it is so high on my favorites list anymore (though it is still on there).  For starters, I have come to realize that the story of Jack and Rose is one seen in many stories we encounter not just in films but in all other arts.  While the score once appealed to me, I now find it to be repetitive and boring compared to other film scores I have grown to love.  Regardless, I knew when my neighbor said he didn't like cheesy love stories that I had to defend this favorite movie of mine because I knew Titanic was more than just a cheesy love story.  Before I knew it, an idea popped into my head and I was speaking the words but had no idea where they were coming from.  Suddenly, I began to question if Jack and Rose's story could even be considered a love story at all.
Let's look at the basics.  The Titanic set sail on April 10th and sunk on April 14th.  Jack and Rose had not known each other for a week.  Does this sound familiar to anyone?  The first thing I thought of was Romeo and Juliet - although Romeo and Juliet can be excused since Shakespeare shortened the story for time restraints of the stage.  In actuality, Romeo and Juliet's love story takes place over a matter of months.  Jack and Rose, however, do not have that luxury.  With Titanic being a true historical event, it is fact that they would have known each other for the period of time stated above.  That brings about the question - can two people fall in love so quickly?  Well, the answer to that question may be opinion based. 
In my opinion, I don't believe you can fall in love with someone in four days.  (Keep in mind, Jack and Rose did not meet the very first hour they were on the ship so in actuality it was 3 days and so and so hours).  However, I do believe you can fall in love with an idea in four days.  You can fall in love with an idea in a matter of seconds.  Therefore, I don't believe Titanic is an actual love story. I think it is a story about two people who believe themselves to be in love but are actually in love with the boy/girl they created in their heads.  Of course, I've never been in love but this is my observation after so many years of living on this earth and learning what love is and what it is not.
Now I know what you are going to say - what about the sex scene??  For starters, you don't have to be in love to have sex.  In our sex obsessed culture, one night stands are the norm and they certainly
don't mean love.  Secondly, what we love the most is often the worst for us.  When two people continually have sex but aren't in a "relationship", it has been proven that they may feel in love but it is only a disguise because of what they are doing.  I also believe the sex scene was a choice made by the creative team to possibly foreshadow the ending of the film - that Jack would get one last chance to have that experience of feeling like he was in love with a wonderful girl before he died.  (I'm not saying the film makers weren't trying to make a love story, because obviously they were and most love stories in Hollywood consist of sex scenes so I could be possibly looking too deep into the story but it helps my argument a bit).  Not only that but a huge portion of their love story takes place during a huge tragedy!  It is typical of two people to turn to each other so fiercely in a time of crisis.
Titanic the film doesn't seem to be about the ship sinking or a love story but about the self discovery of a young woman.  Titanic, in my opinion, is not a love story but a story about Rose Dawson.  The main heroin of Titanic, Rose, starts off in the film as a girl who feels trapped in her insanely rich world full of selfish, horrid people and she wants to escape so she makes a hasty decision to jump into the cold ocean waters and end her life.  Then enters Jack, someone who convinces her not to jump.  Rose comes to know Jack better and gets a peek into his world - late night dancing, beautiful artwork, lackadaisical humor and charm.  Jack is the person Rose has always wished to be around but never knew how to.  Because of this, I believe Rose falls in love with Jack's choices and lifestyles but not Jack himself.  Thereafter the sinking of the Titanic and Jack's death, Rose is finally shaken out of apathy and is a changed woman.  Jack was a huge changing point in her life and his ideas and personality shaped who she ended up being. 
Too often we fall for something being a love story because of the magical sunsets and the romantic events that most often don't happen in reality.
Now, of course, while I obviously believe in this theory, I still also believe that Titanic will always remain a love story.  There is a lot I haven't mentioned in this blog which actually does point to Jack and Rose being in love.  These points were avoided mostly because it has been a while since I have watched the film and I forget quite a bit of the important facts and scenes.  However, I don't think this film is the cheesy love story people claim it is to be which is why I wrote this blog in the first place.
What point am I trying to make then if I believe both sides?  My point is that we shouldn't have movies define standards.  All too often the stories were watch or read are telling us what they are instead of letting us making our own decisions about what we believe they are.  Creator and audience need to both have a say.  While yes, if the creators of Titanic say it is a love story, then we can either accept that theory or see things another way.

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