Titanic Movie Meaning & Plot Summary

Hidden Meaning & Symbolic Details of the film Titanic (1997). The Essence Of The Film Titanic, Analysis of The Plot, Meaning Of The Ending, Idea, The Prototypes Of The Characters.

Country: USA

Genre: disaster film, historical drama, melodrama

Year of production: 1997

Director: James Cameron

Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Gloria Stuart

In the film Titanic, director James Cameron shows the story of the collapse of the famous liner through the prism of the love relationships of the main characters. Jack and Rose are from different social classes, but their feelings are stronger than death. The essence of the film Titanic is that you need to enjoy every moment of life, be honest with yourself and even in the face of mortal danger to remain human.

What is the movie about

On April 10, 1912, the famous liner Titanic sailed from the port of Southampton. It was the largest ship, with a capacity of 2208 passengers. His course lay in New York, but the ship was not destined to reach its destination. Everyone knows this story today, the tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic has become the most famous in the world. But in the film, the story does not begin at all with a description of events – Cameron went the other way.

Main charactersLeonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson and Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater. Frame from the film.

In 1996, the research ship Akademik Mstislav Keldysh moved to the wreck of the Titanic. Brock Lovett, an avid treasure hunter, dives with his team to the bottom of the Atlantic in submersibles. They are looking for a jewel – a blue diamond pendant, known as the “Heart of the Ocean”.

They know that the owner, Caledon Hockley, was on board the Titanic. The searchers raise the safe from the bottom, but only an old drawing of a girl with a pendant around her neck is found in it. When the story was shown on television, Brock Lavet was contacted by a woman who said that she was depicted in the drawing.

Lovett agrees to chat with someone who introduced herself to him as Rose Calvert. She is taken by helicopter to the research vessel. It was there that 100-year-old Rose began her story of the now-famous tragedy. And the viewer, along with her, returns to 1912 aboard the largest and most luxurious liner in the world.

Rose DeWitt Bukater was 17 years old when she boarded the Titanic with her mother, Ruth, and her future fiancé, Caledon Hockley. Rose is forced to marry a wealthy heir to a billion-dollar fortune, although she herself does not want this at all.

The girl understands that she lives in a “golden cage” – she does not have the right to choose, everything has been decided for her a long time ago. Cornered, she becomes desperate and decides to throw herself overboard. And then a random witness comes to her aid – a guy named Jack.

Jack got on the Titanic by accident, winning a ticket at cards. He is generally prone to various adventures and lives one day. Seeing Rose over the side of the deck, he immediately finds a solution. He undresses and pretends to jump with the girl if she lets go of her hands. Rose is stunned, this is not how she imagined her end. Taking advantage of the girl’s confusion, Jack convinces her to return back to the deck. He literally drags her there at the last moment, when she almost fell into the abyss.

ship TitanicFrame from the film.

Thus began the friendship between Jack and Rose. They spend time together on the deck, the guy shows his drawings. He teaches a girl who grew up among the prim rich, to laugh out loud, to spit from the deck, to have fun at a party, to see people, to feel them.

Rose understands more and more that she does not want to live the life that her relatives, society itself, have prepared for her. She does not notice at first how she falls in love with Jack, who gave her faith in herself, freedom, the whole world.

Seeing how rapidly the relationship between Rose and Jack is developing, her fiancé Caledon Hockley decides to eliminate the rival. He tosses him the “Heart of the Ocean” and in front of everyone accuses him of stealing. When the policeman pulls out a pendant from his jacket pocket, everyone rebels against the poor guy. Everyone except Rose. He is taken away and handcuffed to a pipe in the lower deck.

It was 11:40 pm on the clock when the fatal collision of the Titanic with an iceberg occurred. Further actions unfold rapidly. Water floods the lower compartments, the captain begins the evacuation.

Women and children are put on the boats first. Rose’s mother and the rest of the 1st class passengers board the lifeboats, but the girl refuses to follow them. She escapes and goes looking for Jack. Rose, moving waist-deep in icy water, finds her beloved and cuts his chains with an ax. Together they go up to the upper deck.

There are fewer lifeboats left. Caledon bribes one of the guards and arranges a place for himself. They meet with Rose and Jack, the men convince the girl to get on the boat. Caledon lies that he and Jack will get on the next boat and also escape after Rose. At first she believes and sits down, but then she realizes that the groom has deceived her. She jumps out of the lifeboat and is back on board.

Caledon can no longer wait – he gets into the last boat and leaves the sinking liner. Rose and Jack are left with the rest of the unfortunates who did not have enough space in the boats. 2 hours and 40 minutes after the collision, the Titanic goes under water. Rose climbs a piece of wooden door, Jack has no place on it. He just stays close and tries to cheer up his beloved.

sinking shipFrame from the film.

Forgetting from the cold, Rose falls asleep. Waking up, she sees that Jack is already dead. He froze to death. She takes his hands away from the door and watches as his body sinks under the water. Then she sees a light – the lifeboats have returned. But she no longer has the strength to scream. Then she takes the whistle and whistles loudly. So Rose was saved. On the shore, she sees Caledon for the last time, but turns away from him, covering herself with a blanket.

In the finale, impressed by the story, Brock Lovett no longer even asks about the fate of the jewel. He suddenly realized that all these three years he had been chasing a stone, although the main value of life is completely different. Standing on the deck, he said so to his granddaughter Rose: “I spent three years searching, raving about the Titanic, but only now I understood the hidden meaning of what I was looking for.”

In the final shots, old Rose comes on deck and throws the Heart of the Ocean diamond overboard. Then she returns to the cabin, lies down in bed and closes her eyes.

Titanic Ending explanation

The meaning of the ending of the movie “Titanic” is that after the experience, the heroine began her life anew. She freed herself from the oppressive past and became truly free. Cameron’s idea with photos by Rose’s bed in the final shots turned out to be very successful. From them, the viewer learns about the life of the girl after the tragedy, that she managed to realize everything that they dreamed about with Jack.

Also significant is the explanation given by treasure hunter Brock Lovett himself. Feeling the death of the Titanic and thousands of its passengers, he realized that the most valuable thing in the world is not pebbles and expensive finds, but something that cannot be bought for any money. Rose’s story made a strong impression on everyone, changing their outlook on life once and for all.

Titanic Alternate ending

By the way, Cameron also shot an alternative ending to this tape. On deck, treasure hunter Brock Lovett begs Rose for the Heart of the Ocean diamond. She gives him the stone. But then, with a perky smile, he nevertheless throws the jewel into the ocean. Because the stone belongs to Jack.

This ending was not as romantic as the one that ended up in the final cut of the film. Cameron turned her down.

The meaning of the film Titanic

In addition to the main meaning, which is obvious – the world-famous tragedy, loss of life, grief and fear, Cameron also put a hidden idea into the film.

The Titanic at one time was a symbol of a strong and prosperous Europe, a bulwark of stability and unsinkability in every sense. But already during the description of events, the viewer sees that even on board the ship, society is split. Class inequality flourishes, as does the disempowerment of women. And in great Europe the situation is not at all so cloudless and stable.

With the tragedy of Titanic, the director also showed the death of the Old World, its foundations, politics and society. This was the hidden meaning of the film, because it was after this great tragedy that significant changes began in European and world history. People’s lives began to change, classism became obsolete, and women’s rights were discussed openly and at the legislative level.

Billy ZaneBilly Zane as Calendon Hockley. Frame from the film.

FAQ of film Titanic

How true is the depiction of the disaster?

James Cameron approached the filming of the film with all seriousness. Details have been painstakingly recreated from photographs, documentary material and the accounts of surviving eyewitnesses of the tragedy. The director personally 12 times plunged into the bathyscaphe to the place of the wreck of the liner, saw with his own eyes its remains.

After the release of the film, critics noted the maximum correspondence of what is happening on the screen with reality. The content of each frame was carefully studied. For example, the scene with the boy playing yo-yo on the deck was recreated in detail from a real photograph taken aboard the Titanic. Several of these photos have survived – they all became models for filming certain scenes. Not only did Cameron insist on building an exact copy of the ship itself, but also the parts for it were made by the same company that serviced the real Titanic.


Did the heroes have prototypes?

James Cameron himself has repeatedly said that Rose and Jack are his fiction, like their romantic story. Meanwhile, after the release of the film, it became known that there was a stoker named John Dawson on board the Titanic. His grave is in Fairview Lawn, in Halifax at number 227 has become a place of pilgrimage for fans of the picture. The director said that until recently he did not know anything about this man.

But in the film, many of the characters have real prototypes. The most famous of them is Molly Brown, who helped Jack and at the end of the film demanded that the lifeboat be turned around to save people. This woman really was on the Titanic, she went down in history as “the unsinkable Molly.” Molly Brown was an avid feminist who fought for women’s rights and upheld the postulates of political equality. She also worked to improve the working and living conditions of miners.

When traveling on the Titanic, Molly Brown was 44 years old. When the rescue operation began, she began to put women and children into the boats, but she herself refused to sit down, telling everyone: “It’s okay, I’ll swim out.” She was literally forced into the last boat. She repeatedly demanded to return and pick up the survivors, but the captain of the boat did not listen to her. On the shore, Molly organized the analysis of the personal belongings of the dead, created lists of survivors, and collected considerable funds for the needs of those who had lost loved ones.

Other characters in the film also had prototypes. For example, the elderly couple who hugged and refused to leave the ship before the crash actually existed. Their names were Ida and Isidor Strauss. Ida refused to get into the boat and remained to die with her husband. The musicians from the orchestra were also real people. They really played on the deck until the sinking of the Titanic.

In reality, not everyone from the commanding staff of the ship also survived. The captain of the ship, Edward Smith, refused to leave the ship, as did the creator of the Titanic, Thomas Andrews. Second mate Charles Lightoller survived and was subsequently influential in improving the safety of passenger ships. The director of the steamship company, Joseph Bruce Ismay, also survived, but to the end of his days he paid for his decision to reduce the number of boats on the Titanic from 48 to 16. All these characters are shown in the film’s content with detailed accuracy. Why did Rose throw the “Heart of the Ocean” stone into the water? The explanation for such an act of an old woman who survived a great tragedy is quite simple. Rose had kept a secret about Jack all her life, and “Heart of the Ocean” was the only thing that connected her to him. It was a symbol of her love, the past happy days spent together. The woman did not appreciate this pendant, like an expensive piece of jewelry worth millions. It was part of herself, her heart, her lost love.

Having gone a long way in life, Rose has fulfilled everything that she once promised to Jack. She survived, became a happy wife and mother, carried the memory of him through the years. And in the finale, she simply returned the “Heart of the Ocean” to her beloved – to the depths of the sea. Rose sent him to where the remains of the ship and Jack’s body lie. But in memory he will forever remain the one who saved her and changed her worldview.


Did Rose die at the end?

James Cameron never directly answered this question. The final shots show a woman who has lived a very long life, carrying a great secret. And when she finally told her story at the end, she freed herself and let go of herself.

It is difficult to say whether the author wanted to show the happy death of the main character, who fulfilled her dream. Such an explanation for the ending is possible. But it hardly really matters. The story of the death of the Titanic is told in full, to the end, and the rest of the audience can only guess.

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