Titanic

Titanic ★★★★

I am just old enough to have been resistant to watching this for many years. In high school it was an inescapable juggernaut and, as a result, something I was guaranteed to have no interest in. Not only that, but I can recall manufacturing an animosity toward it due to its all pervasive presence (particularly the song). In short, the more everyone talked about how I needed to see it, the more my resolve grew to never do so. It was an immature stance, and fast forward to 2020, one that has been corrected. Yes, I finally saw this, and *sigh* I admit it is a good movie. 

I can take or leave the main romantic plot-line. It’s not really my thing but the script is tight and all the character motivations make sense there. Where the movie reached out and grabbed me was in its framing device. This is quickly turning into a review with more autobiographical elements than I usually include but hey it’s somewhat fitting for the tone of the film I suppose. I went to school for history and classical studies in University and, as such, can fully understand James Cameron’s urge to uncover the forgotten stories of the past and present them in a more nuanced context. Seeing Bill Paxton’s character explore the ruins of the sunken ship and recover lost artifacts and with them their stories really, really worked on me.  Even though the story here is fictionalized the impulse is something I really appreciate and it is fully present in spirit.

The movie is also an undeniable technical masterpiece. Even though I usually don’t care much for huge budget spectacle pieces, the fact that Titanic takes its time in situating you really pays off when it all goes wrong in the last act. In this regard it really benefits from the long run time. I also love how it seamlessly flows from past to present and back again. It has some of the most impressive match cuts I have ever seen. The script doesn’t miss much either and pays off almost everything it sets up. Finally I will say that although some of the exploration of class issues was a little on the nose (at one point they are literally dropping a life boat full of rich people on top of a life boat filled with people of lesser means who are scrambling to try and get out of the way) they still work, and I didn’t really expect the movie to get into any of that so...bonus. 

So in conclusion here it is, a full betrayal of my immature teenage self - I openly admit I watched Titanic and I liked it.

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