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The film Titanic hit the big screen in the year 1997, becoming the top movie in the box office for that year. Since then, many have been able to experience the epic romance and tragedy all wrapped into one hundred and ninety four minutes. The movie follows the story of the once thought “unsinkable ship” that in fact did end up on the bottom of the ocean and cost the lives of so many. As well as, main characters and protagonists Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater/Dawson, both leading completely different lives as part of different classes within society. They meet and come together by chance, and in a short amount of time fall in love and begin planning out their life together. Despite the feelings that Rose has for Jack, her mother and other first class people disapprove of the two together and do everything within their power to keep Rose’s eyes focused on her chosen fiance, Cal.
Though nothing that is done takes Jack off of Rose’s mind, however, the two fight through a sinking ship to stay together. Although in the end their efforts aren’t enough because Jack goes down with the ship, leaving Rose’s future in question. Within the film Titanic, through the use of flashbacks and dramatic camera angles/scenes, director James Cameron is able to create a movie that addresses the importance of social class in the early twentieth century and the impact love can have on an individual in the midst of a tragedy.
In the beginning of the movie, Rose is shown as an old lady many years after the Titanic docked and she went on to live her life after the tragedy that changes the trajectory of her life. The story of what happened in 1912 was told through a series of flashbacks that helped to explain the point of her life in which she was in, the emotions she was feeling and ultimately her perspective on the sinking of the supposedly “unsinkable ship”. The use of these flashbacks allowed for two different stories set in two different centuries to be told, and ultimately showing how they connected to the same character.
The flashbacks also allowed for character development to take place off screen, that through all that occured in her life, Rose was able to find herself, live a successful life and learn valuable lessons from what she experienced so young. At the end of the movie, Rose was grief stricken over the fact that the love of her life had passed away, but as a much older woman many years later she began to have a new outlook and attitude on how her life ended up turning out. In the beginning of the movie another set of characters is introduced as well, Rose’s great granddaughter and also a researcher who had been to the wreckage scene of the ship. They were both intrigued and wanted to hear about her experience being on the ship, as she was one of the only living survivors. The flashbacks acted as the base to which parts of her life aboard the Titanic she was telling, then eventually the scene would pan back to the current time.
The way in which most of the scenes in the movie were shot were at a wide angle, which allows for those who watch the movie to truly be able to comprehend how massive the Titanic truly was back then. The wide angle that is utilized allows for much of the background to be included within the scenes, allowing for the characters to stand out amongst it all and the environment in which they are in. For example with the upper class folks, their wealth was showcased within their scenes, such as the suites that they stayed in during their voyage on the Titanic. The walls within the rooms were heavily decorated with expensive artwork while also being furnished with the most high quality furniture. With most of the shooting being done in wide angle, there are lots of points in the movie in which the camera crew don’t just shoot straight on. But rather they choose more dramatic angles that interest viewers and also involve them within the specific scene as if they are actually there, as opposed to just viewing it in the movie theatre just like any other movie made in that year.
Most of the movie was shot on the ship which wasn’t easy to create, but this ultimately set the movie up to be very successful and in the end seem more realistic. Along with the angle at which the scenes were shot at, lots of music was used to add to the mood and emotion to the scene that was being shot. For example, when Rose was ready to end her life by jumping off of the back end of the boat and Jack was doing all that he could to persuade her out of doing so. Sad music was playing in the background, which allows empathy to be felt for Rose’s character by audience members.
Social class back in the nineteenth and twentieth century were made heavily influenced within society because that’s how people saw you and how one gained respect, by their money. This came into play on the big screen within the film on multiple occasions, as the two main characters were from polar opposite social classes and leading completely different lives, being surrounded by various people in their inner circles and truly having a different view on life itself.
Lots of times depending on the social class that an individual was that was also the amount of respect that one earned from those around them. Jack being an example within the movie, many didn’t have a lot of respect for him towards the beginning of the film because they knew where he came from and all that he had wasn’t a lot to offer anyone. Also Rose being another example, the elite members of society that took voyage on the ship saw her as valuable, knowing who she was about to marry and all that she would inherit and make of her life. But despite their various roles within society, Jack and Rose were able to disregard those standards and fall in love with one another.
Although many of those who were around them tried constantly to keep the two apart, nothing that anyone did seemed to work. In such a short period of time in getting to know one another they both knew that they were going to spend the rest of their lives together. The theme of love is what kept them pushing them to fight against all of the odds that were stacked against them when the fate of their lives was at hand.
Throughout the entire film, dramatic camera angles/settings, flashbacks and a modernized perspective were used to encompass the themes of social class and love all into one action packed adventurous movie. The use of all of these things is what led to the overall success of the movie that has continued to capture the hearts and attention of many viewers even to this day almost twenty two years ago.
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