Thoughts on Jack and Rose

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Rachel Lockwood

Former Member
Hi there.

I'm a fan on the Cameron's Titanic, and aside from the sinking scenes, my favorite aspect of the movie is the relationship between Jack and Rose.

I was just wondering what people here think of them?
Welcome aboard Rachel,
i hope you enjoy our banter and join in.
As I'm sure you are aware, Jack and Rose are fictional characters, they did not exist except in James Cameron's mind.

Personally, I think that the stories of the real people of Titanic would have been more than sufficient to carry the movie. I think that the Jack and Rose story was unnecessary, pointless and stupid.

I hope that if James Cameron's Titanic is the only Titanic you've experienced you'll branch out and see some other Titanic movies as well as read some books (Walter Lord's "A Night To Remember" is, in my humble opinion, one of the best accounts out there.

Anyway, glad to see a new face, and keep posting! :D

Timothy Brandsoy

Former Member

Hi and welcome!

I've seen Cameron's Titanic too many times to count. I love how he showed Titanic, it's still amazing to look at. I sort of agree with Sarah though, I've been a Titanic buff since the early 80s. To me the story didn't need embelishment. The more you follow the incredible truth the deeper it gets, layer upon layer. You'll be fasinated by what really went on! Some of which was aluded to by "Rose" in the movie. BTW I'm also a fan of Kate Winslett. I think she did a great job in the movie, I just wish SHE would have played Mrs. Madeline Astor, a young girl married to one of the richest men in the world.

Have a good look around this site. It will take a loooooong time to read everything here!

Tim B

Rachel Lockwood

Former Member
Let me get this straight, even though this is a discussion forum for James Cameron's Titanic, you don't like talking about Jack and Rose? Okay.

Oh, and for your information, I am fully aware that they are fictional characters, thank you very much. I may be new, but there's no need to treat me as though I'm stupid.

Goodbye. I won't be posting here again.
FYI sweetheart, this ISN'T a discussion forum for James Cameron's Titanic, it's a discussion forum for know the big boat that sank 90 years ago... Yeeesh.

Rachel Lockwood

Former Member
So why does the link I clicked on say "James Cameron's Titanic" then? On the main page for the forum listings, I clicked on "Titanic Movies" and then "James Cameron's Titanic". I see lots of other threads dedicated to this movie, maybe not about Jack and Rose, but the motion picture.

And there's no need to be so rude.
(Pssst! Sarah, er, this is the forum for discussing Cameron's Titanic and all aspects thereof. There's always the rest of the board for the rivet counters, the Titanic-people people and discussion of those bits of bound paper I'm so fond of. ;))

Perhaps we could start this conversation again?

Hi Rachel (if you're still about?),

I'm not particularly a Jack & Rose fan, but have heaps of friends who are and not just for the often ridiculed reason of being a Leo or Kate fan (of which I am most definitely the latter). There are a lot of threads here slagging them from the 'J'n'R take the Leaky Loveboat' perspective and there's certainly room for some counter discussion.

While I may not particularly like the Jack and Rose characters at times, I think they play an important role in drawing the viewer into Cameron's film: Rose's emerging commitment to herself as a person rather than as a chattel, Jack's sense of adventure questioning the status quo (something a modern audience connects with, given the rigid protocols of the upper class of the time), and that they provide us with an 'excuse' to tour Titanic and see the ship and history through their eyes. The whole point to me was that Cameron's film is their story, or rather Rose's story, it's not a documentary on the sinking of Titanic despite some of the period detail and look-alike casting etc. Jack and Rose are a reinvention of the 'everyman' archetype, perhaps, assisting the audience in 'owning' and understanding history.

What is it about them that you particularly appreciate?

And while you're here, have you seen another thread in this films forum started by Parks: it's the one asking what the film makers got *right*. Just thought you might be interested in another thread looking for the good in films or at least what people particularly enjoyed for a change.


Rachel Lockwood

Former Member
Fiona, thanks for the reply - that's exactly the sort of responce I was looking for.

Good to see there's at least two nice people around here.

Inger Sheil

I think you're right there with the archetypal character angle, Fi.

As specific characters, I had problems with Jack and Rose - they seemed insubstantive, and their storyline was rather trite (not helped at all by poor dialogue). However, Cameron stated in at least one interview that I read that they weren't meant to be viewed as specific individuals.

I find them more acceptable as basic archetypes - not even as representative socio-economic types (because they're a bit too cliched for that), but more broadly as something elemental in the myths and legends that reveal aspects of the human psyche. It is one facet of the Romeo and Juliet story (same initials, but with a gender reverse) that they fulfill a similar function. Star-cross'd lovers and their piteous overthrow still 'speak' to us, and there's something deeply appealing to the young in particular in the R&J figures of myth.

Jack and Rose have little appeal to me as individuals - the stories of some of the real people aboard the ship have a depth, richness, colour and immediacy that renders their fictional counterparts as rather pallid, anaemic, sketchy figures. However, in an abstract sense - as touchstones for something else (the pasteboard mask Melville wrote about), they make more sense and don't strike such a jarring note.

That's my honest response, if perhaps a bit ambivalent. I hope you stay around as well, and share what struck such a powerful chord with you personally about whatever aspect of the event or its cultural manifestations - such as the movie - that appeals to you.
I think Sarah that Cameron wanted to have a little fun with his story instead of sticking to making a movie that took a real-life story. He wanted to make his own story and his own characters and to be in total control of what happens to the characters instead of taking a real person or persons and relying on history to determine what happens to them when the ship sinks. And he wanted you to see Titanic through the eyes of them.
thanks for setting me straight on the topic of this section of the forum, I get a lot of threads sent to me by e-mail and didn't check the topic heading.

My apologies to Rachel for my sarcastic remarks earlier. If you'll stick around here I'm sure you'll notice that I'm an ornery cuss and irritate/alienate just about everyone who comes in contact with me. Anyway, sorry again for the misunderstanding on my part.

However, despite the excellent and eloquent arguments for the Jack and Rose story posted by Adam, Fiona and Inger (and anyone else I might have missed) I still stand by my opinions of Jack and Rose.

PS to Rachel, I'm sorry for being rude, I have a terrible tendency to speak/type before I think. I hope you can forgive me.

Oh and btw, although I didn't like Jack and Rose I thought that Cameron's idea of having Titanic's story told through the eyes of a survivor was well done.

Rachel Lockwood

Former Member
Don't worry Sarah, alls forgotten.

I've got a bad cold at the moment so I'm *very* touchy...normally I wouldn't have reacted like that.

No hard feelings.
Or, to look at it another way...

Cameron saved himself a lot of criticism by not delving too deeply into the lives of historical people. With fictional characters, he could delve as intimately as he wished without having someone in the audience claim that the colour of the woman's bloomers was wrong or that the man actually preferred the other brand of pomade.

As it is, Cameron has attracted enough criticism for his portrayal of the secondary characters who were historical figures in his story. Can you imagine the what-for this list would give him if his central characters had been based on actual people? For him to portray any Titanic personality to the satisfaction of this group as a whole would be an impossible task. For that matter, we seldom agree amongst ourselves, even when we're not talking about the Californian.

Even the venerated ANTR required fictional elements added to some historical figures in order to "fill out" its central characters. I would wager that not everyone on this list would agree with some of the resultant protrayals, either. I know that I have some reservations.

It's difficult to please a group of Titanic enthusiasts. I don't envy the people who stick their neck out in an attempt to try.


P.S. There have been some aspects to the portrayal of certain characters, most notably Reiber's Captain Smith and Chairman Ismay, that are truly objectionable...I am speaking in generalities here and have no intention to assert that the fictionalisation of all of Titanic's historical characters on film has been justifiable in every respect. This issue, like so many others, can never really be defined in terms of black-and-white.

Inger Sheil

Of course, it goes beyond the dissatisfaction of just 'a group of Titanic enthusiasts' (as I know you know, Parks - just pointing this out for the benefit of those who might be reading this thread). Nor are all these objections as petty as underwear colour or hair products.

Of the four Titanic officers' families I've interviewed, three were completely off-put by the depiction of their relatives in Cameron's movie, believing the historical individuals were misrepresented. (I quite agree with them, but that's by-the-bye) I understand - although I have not spoken to them personally - that the family of one of the other officers was utterly dismissive of his latest screen incarnation. I know of only one family who were rather pleased with how 'their' deck officer was portrayed, and even in that instance they didn't feel that there was much resemblance to the historical figure. I think there's a trend there...!! By all means, enjoy the flick - just don't be under the delusion that the men you're seeing crew that ship on the screen are all that much akin to the men who lived, breathed and in some instances died in April 1912.

I've also spoken to the families of passengers who were equally critical, even when their relatives were not specifically portrayed (Ted Dowding had some scathing remarks to make).

Cameron's film was not the most objectionable in terms of unjustifable portrayals of historical individuals (IMHO, that dubious distinction belongs to the execrable German TV movie). However, there are certain individuals who really 'copped' it in his movie - and, I firmly believe, unnecessarily so (long term members of this board will know at least two of these with which I will never become reconciled, not even in terms of 'wider context' or 'dramatic licence').
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