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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THAT SCRIPT - II - adagio for eyes, 11 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Titanic [1998] [DVD] (DVD)
... Just as Zane's Cal Hockley paints a perfect portrait of a classic Victorian (if not George V- ian) villain, Kate Winslet's Rose makes all the right moves for a classic heroine. A more perfect actor for this part could not have been cast. This was physical and spiritual command of the part by Kate Winslet and if awards were to be given for accomplishments with eyes, none would be more deserving than Kate. That first diffident look into Jack's eyes as she nervously grips his outstretched hand over the ship's railing in their first scene, makes for as touching a moment in the movie as they come. There were no prizes for guessing that from this encounter, dramatically intensified and arm-wrenchingly painful as it seemed, these characters were destined to be lovers. And how obvious it seemed were the scriptwriter's intentions with Jack saving Rose and that big closeup of their hands coming together. But needs must - obvious though his intentions were, the scriptwriter had a mission to start us on a road whereby within but a few brief encounters, the love affair flourishes and matures to the point where Rose will offer up her own life to stay with Jack. So their first encounter, intense as it was, needed to be just that to warrant all of Rose's subsequent actions but especially that which proved her undying love, her jumping from the lifeboat, better to forfeit her own life (assuredly, in light of her knowing about the shortage of lifeboats) than to lose Jack. We had to believe Rose would do that and our belief was instilled by that first encounter.

Again, the way in which Rose looks into the eyes of her newfound love when he beckons her to the bow of the ship to share their first truly tender moment, is so sweetly touching as to bring a lump to the throat. How beautifully this was enacted against the solitary piano notes and deep red sunset! There again, the script required the sunset to stand out, to heighten the sweetness of the moment and to drive home the fact this was the last sunset so many would see. Rose's apprehension at her life-altering decision offset by her calm resignation as she moves toward Jack on the bow, her adulation for this young guy, and all her emotions are captured so genuinely by those trusting eyes, tentative mouth, and that almost hobbled gait. Winslet delivers and convinces at every turn in this movie and with no discernible effort acquits herself with the heart and soul of her character. In the old car in the hold of the ship, when Rose gives herself to Jack, who but the sour-faced curmudgeon that I once was would not be moved or could deny these kids their rapture? She, just seventeen years old, trapped like a bird in a gilded cage, her world in disarray and craving for solace and he, the charming and talented young rover, were meant for each other. The poignancy of their clinch infused our hearts, not by the sight of the steamy cabin nor their naked embrace afterwards, but before that, by Rose's entreating Jack to touch her and unforgettably, by those eyes so trusting and soothed by the sight of him. This young kid had shown her joy, opened the cage and let her fly. He was worthy not only of her love but of her eternal love and yet something in her doleful, glimmering eyes foretold this would be their one and only congress.

The love story, regarded by many as the weakness in the script, for me is the backbone of the script. It is played out perfectly and weaved into the story so expertly that, despite its corny perfection and its fiction, is as respectful a tribute to those who perished as any re-enactment of the sinking of the ship could be. Had the real victims not lived, loved and been loved before that fateful night? Who knows what their thoughts were and who they longed to see again as they awaited almost certain death? Jack and Rose as victims, lovers, and as innocents, facing these events, represent the souls lost, and in their love and tragedy, all those dreams, hopes and lives broken by this disaster. As they lowered her in the lifeboat, did the character Rose not suffer the feelings of loss and hopelessness of so many women separated from their loved ones on that night? The desperation of that moment, the chaos and hubbub, and the gut-wrenching feeling of losing someone forever were as clearly written in Rose's eyes as in the faces of the family crying for their father. The actors showed due respect to the real victims' plight. The scriptwriter and score-writer showed due respect likewise and if ever a musical accompaniment was timed so well or captured the longing of the human heart so beautifully, it was this one.

This film, despite the historical inaccuracies and misrepresentations, despite the schmalzy homage to love's young dream, and despite its debatable corniness and cliché, is a gargantuan achievement. Attention to detail and quality of story, without even considering the spectacle, are truly remarkable. This is a wonderful film with the skill and devotion of its contributors stamped into every frame. It's also as warm a tribute and fine a memorial to the victims of the tragedy as any eulogy that could possibly be composed so long after the fact.

James Cameron, I applaud you. Your dedication to your art is astounding. If ever a moviemaker took so seriously an obligation to bedazzle and delight, or tried harder to return the cost of a theatre ticket with interest, you are that moviemaker. The script is magnificent and with a real affection for the least and largest of your characters that runs right through and is so plain to see.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Mar 2012 12:08:08 GMT
Bookworm says:
You describe the script as "magnificent" but that was interestingly the only one of Cameron's four functions in this film (the other three were director, editor and co-producer) for which he did not receive an Academy Award nomination. Of course, he converted his three nominations into three Oscars. But this is the only film in Academy Award history that won best picture and best director without a screenplay nomination.
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