Vanessa’s review published on Letterboxd:
Titanic has always held a special place in my heart and of all my favourite movies it's the one I've had the longest history with. The first time I watched the movie, or rather parts of it, must have been in the early 2000s when I visited some relatives for Christmas and my cousin and I got bored and when we turned on the TV the ship just started to sink, which was pretty scary back then. A few years later when I was 11 or 12 my friends and I were obsessed with the movie and we watched it so many times that it is probably still my most watched movie. Since then my taste changed a lot and in the past few years I only watched Titanic on rare occasions but it's still one of my favourite movies and I doubt that will ever change. Last night I had the chance to watch Titanic on the big screen for the first time and it was magical and even though I know this movie so well it was like watching it for the first time again – maybe also because this was the first time I've ever seen it without commercial breaks or having to take a break to switch to the second DVD (Do the kids on this website even remember this?).
The movie is almost too good to be true. After not watching it for a long time it makes you wonder if it really is that good. And then the movie starts and the first few scenes seem endless – it's not that they're not interesting but I doubt anyone watches Titanic to see some explorers trying to find something in the wreck – and it seems more and more likely that the movie might be just another one of those Oscar winners. But then Rose starts to tell her story and as soon as the wreck changes into a brand-new ship and the camera moves through the waiting crowd the movie unfolds its effect. The camera stops when a car arrives. The door gets opened and at first there's nothing to see but a gigantic lilac hat and then there she is – Rose. I would say that this is my favourite shot of the movie but there are so many beautiful shots that its impossible to pick just one – from the hat and the elderly couple in bed over Jack looking at the stars and the way Rose's dress moves when she's running during the boiler room to the hand on the car window and Rose lying on the door and so many others, there's a reason why Russell Carpenter won an Oscar for this movie. The same goes for my favourite scene, if you'd ask me at a time where I haven't seen the movie for a while I would immediately mention the dance but right now it's probably the orchestra playing together one last time while the people on the ship are getting ready to die.
One thing that always impressed me about Titanic is that even though the movie is divided in two halves both parts are equally strong despite their tonal differences. While the first half focuses mostly on the love story between Rose and Jack, the second half includes more of the people around them and – while following the couple on their way all over the ship to find a way to escape – shows how the disaster affects the different classes. Sure, the movie could have taken a few minutes of its 194 minute runtime to go into more depth regarding the struggles the lower classes faced (It's actually surprising how little the movie deals with this considering Jack is poor, but instead he is portrayed as a free-spirited painter who can go wherever he wants, whereas Rose's involuntary engagement to secure her wealth gets compared to slavery) but then again I doubt that James Cameron would have been the right person for that and it would have done the movie more harm than good.
Ultimately Titanic still holds up incredibly well two decades later and the only part of it that felt dated was the simulation of the sinking ship, which probably didn't look very good back then either. Apart from that I was surprised how much impact seeing the movie on the big screen had on me, because before I hardly ever cried watching it but yesterday I couldn't hold back my tears and cried more than during all other viewings combined. I wasn't really in the mood to write about movies lately and I know this sounds cheesy but Titanic reminded me how much I love movies.