Titanic (1997 Film)
Content and Theme Analysis
Titanic is a 1997 epic romantic film that focuses on the fictionalized depiction of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The film revolves around the tragic love story of Jack and Rose during the ill-fated voyage of the ship. Jack is a penniless artist who won a ticket to ride the Titanic after winning the poker game. Rose belongs to the high society but her family acquired debt problems after his father died. To solve their financial concerns, Rose’s widowed mother Ruth, forced her daughter to marry to Cal. Because she was distraught over the engagement, she considered jumping off the ship but was saved by Jack. The following scenes involve how romantic relationship between the two develops and how it ended tragically. The film starts during the present time when a team inside the research vessel tried to search for the Heart of the Ocean or the blue diamond. However, instead of finding the diamond, they found a painting of Rose. An old Rose informs the team that she is one of the survivors of ship and she is the one on the painting. Out of curiosity, the research team asked the old Rose to share her story about her stay in the Titanic.
One of the major themes of the movie is about the life of different people, whether rich or poor, during the early 20th century. The film showed how people who belong to the first class and lower class live differently. One good example is how poor and rich people celebrate parties. Rich people emphasize elegance and etiquette. They prefer music with slow tempo. They also tend to be careful with their actions. However, the poor people only focus on entertainment. They do not care about their actions and they minimally focus on their table etiquette. As long as they do not hurt anybody and enjoy themselves, the party will go through successfully.
Another major theme is a typical theme in a love story between rich and poor, specifically the obstacles they have to face. The first is the family. Even though Jack has no family with him during his voyage in the Titanic, Rose’s mother Ruth disapproves her relationship with Jack. The second one is the rival. Cal is Jack’s rival for Rose. Cal will also do whatever he wants just to achieve anything that he wishes.
Sacrifice is the third major theme of the film. Jack sacrificed his life because he wanted to save Rose. As a result, Rose survived while Jack died due to hypothermia. Adult men also sacrificed their lives so that women and children would be able to survive the wreck. Women and children were the first ones who boarded the lifeboats. Majority of the survivors were women and children. The last major theme is acceptance. Many victims chose not to board lifeboats but they chose to accept their fate.
The movie started with the first and last voyage of the RMS Titanic. The background is a part of a song called My Heart Will Go On. However, unlike the song, the musical background has a lonelier tone with an extremely slow tempo. Instead of lyrics, the audience will only hear humming. The loneliness of the melody suggests the tragic fate that the passengers of the RMS Titanic would eventually face. The humming increased its volume when the title of the movie was presented.
When the old Rose started to narrate her story when she boarded the Titanic around 84 years ago, the sunken Titanic was shown. She mentioned that the Titanic was the ship of dreams since almost all people, whether rich or poor, wanted to sail inside the Titanic. When the sunken ship appeared, the melody in the background has a slow tempo and a somber mood. However, when the Titanic suddenly changed its form to its original appearance, the music later changed its mood from somber to happy. The somber mood suggests that tragic fate of the RMS Titanic while the happy mood indicates the happier days of the ship when almost all people (except Rose) were excited that they will go onboard the ship. The music also has a sense of magnificence suggesting that the Titanic is one of the biggest luxurious ships throughout the history of shipping.
In the scene when Jack Dawson and his Italian friend Fabrizzio de Rossi were running towards the ship, a melody similar to the sound of a cheery Scottish music can be heard in the background. The music has a fast tempo because when it was played, the scenes involved running. Further, the fast tempo and the cheery mood of the music suggest that the characters were excited in boarding the Titanic.
In the scene when the ship was running to its full speed, a playful humming with a moderate tempo was used as a musical background. It involves a scene when Jack and Fabrizzio were running towards the front ship. The playfulness of the melody suggests that excitement of the two friends in reaching New York City since they feel that they are the most fortunate poor people because they boarded the Titanic. The use of choir also indicates that grandness or magnificence of the ship because it is considered as the ship of dreams.
The instrumental “My Heart Will Go On” in a slow tempo with a romantic tone was played when Jack Dawson was sketching a naked Rose Bukater. Sketching an entire portrait is a slow process, which is why the music should also be slow. Further, the slowness of the music and its mood also represents the romantic connection between Jack and Rose. While Jack and Rose were trying to run and hide from the constable, the audience will hear the same cheery Scottish music. The melody signifies the excitement that the couple feels while they are trying to hide from Cal’s constable.