Its' obvious that James Cameron leaves the last scene of "Titanic" up for the viewer's interpretation. Do you think old Rose is just merely dreaming of the past or is she joining Jack and the others in the after-life? Would love to hear "Titanic" fan's opinions!
I always felt it was a dream. Considering the anguish that the passengers and crew experienced when Titanic sank, to be consigned to a "spiritual" version of that ship would be more hellish than anything else. The constant reminders of that horrible night would be too much to bear.
It seems to me that she died. Jack and the others were obviously waiting for her (even after so many years) and welcomed her warmly. The anguish of the disaster is no longer relevant, because the ship was restored to her original beauty and the passengers were healthy and full of joy. Besides, there is no suggestion that they were confined there for anytime afterward; it was only a place of reunion. A possible clue: I just replayed the scene a couple of times and I see none of the "survivors" in the crowd. Did I miss anyone?
It was always obvious to me that she died and was reunited with Jack and the others who perished on the Titanic. That's what makes the ending so beautiful. She ends up dying warm in her bed as an old woman, just as Jack said she would. And she dies right after she tosses the necklace from the boat and makes peace with her past. If it was just a dream, I think it would cheapen things. So what if she has a dream that she's reunited with Jack? She probably had tons of those dreams in her life. But the end shows her REALLY being reunited with Jack, in spirit. It was a nice happy ending that wrapped everything up nicely!
Not to be a humbug, but wouldn't it be a bit strange to spend eternity in a ship mostly filled with complete strangers and the guy you had a serious thing for in your early twenties. Forget about those 80 years of life and love with her true family. Why reunite with Jack instead of the man she gave her whole life to?
Jack was the love of her life. Her dead husband must not have loved her too much or else she may have gone with him. He moved on after death. We're not suppose to love and respect everything about our main characters. Think of it as a fault in her character. It should make for an even better movie.
I think the reason she returns to Jack instead of her husband is fairly simple. She moved on and lived a full life after Jack died just like she promised she would, but it is clear that she never stopped loving him. Given the fact that Rose directly mentions her husband only once in the entire movie, it is easy to assume that, while she may have loved her husband, the deepest vaults of her heart were always Jack's, for the love she felt for him was "true" love as opposed to a more commonplace sort of love. True love never dies, so I think it makes sense that she comes back to Jack, with whom her heart has always been. Rose alludes to this when she says that a woman's heart is a "deep sea of secrets" (not a perfect quotation). Further explanation can be found in the fact that, in the original 1999 DVD, the scene in which Jack and Rose are reunited is called, "A promise kept" on the chapter selection menu. Similarly, the song that plays during that scene is called, "A life well-lived." Therefore, I believe their reunion, in addition to representing Rose's coming back to be with her lost love, also represents her coming full circle. She fulfilled her promise to live a full life, and is ready to rejoin Jack. That makes it clearer why the reunion is on the Titanic. The great ship was, in addition to being the "stage" of their love, also the place where the promise was made (more or less). So, in returning to Jack and fulfilling her promise, Rose comes back to the Titanic, the place where her heart has always secretly stayed. The people there, all of them being the passengers who died, are the people with whom her heart has rested all the long years of her life. When they applaud her, they are doing so to congratulate her for courageously living a full life and for returning to her true love, Jack.
I hope this is useful. I am a future film major, and I put all of my film analysis powers to use for this one!
"When they applaud her, they are doing so to congratulate her for courageously living a full life"
I don't think so. That promise was between her and Jack, not the rest of the crew. Plus, I think you're going overboard with your comments that her heart stayed on the Titanic. Maybe the deepest parts, but that doesn't mean she didn't give her full love to her family. Otherwise, her life would be one big, pointless empty void just waiting to go back to a dead ship; ugh! It was a promise of love, for pete's sake, not a contract; part of your description makes it sound WAY too legalistic.
I agree with this too. In the past week, I have watched the movie, gone over every angle of what the end means. Like James Cameron said, the end is up to you. In my opinion, maybe this was the dream that she had every night, and now, she has died an old woman, warm in her bed (like Jack made her promise). Now that dream has come true. She loved her husband, but in a different way than she loved Jack. She made him a promise and wanted to keep that promise. A theory I came up with, is that, ok, say she met this Calvert guy (whose first name we never find out) and how do we know his family, say a wife and small child, had also been on the Titanic and he was waiting for them in America, and they didn't survive? Maybe, they went on in their lives, together, brought together by the tradegy that ripped them from their true loves. Which would mean that he would have then been reunited with her and so forth. No one is saying that she didn't love her husband, I want to make that clear before someone tries to tell me that, just that Jack was her true love.
Also, about everyone being on the ship. This is my thought. After watching the deleted scenes, one shows them see a shooting star. Jack says "My pop used to tell me that it meant a soul was going to Heaven". In his commentary, James Cameron said the shooting star was supposed to be seen three times. We see the shooting star again in the sky from old Rose's eyes when she puts the necklace in the ocean. Then, if you look closely, as we are taken to the ship at the end, you see many shooting stars. This could symbolize all of those souls. As we watch Rose enter the room, we can think of it as she is the last one to return. They are waiting for her, and then they will enter Heaven together. Not entirely historically accurate (the part with the last to return), but it adds to the films beauty, at least in my opinion.
She loved Jack. So much, that she did what he asked. Sure, she could haven given up when she knew he was gone, and died and went with him, but she remembered that he told her to go on, to do all of these things, and she did. She found happiness, and was happy. But she never forgot Jack. That right there was the main point.
She died, and reunited with Jack instead of her husband because Jack is her one true love. You got two types of people when it comes to living life w/o your true love: you have the Katherine Hepburn type that never marry and the Norma Shearer type, who remarry and in the end stages of their life call their current husband by the name of their one true love.
Rose loved Jack more than her husband. Many women marry after the death of their true love often out of circumstances or a friend like love. Jack made it possible for Rose to even marry Calvert because he freed her from her lifestyle. That is why she loves him. He freed her. And the reason Titanic is her heaven is because that is the most defining moment in her life. It was on that ship she met Jack, and made the conscious decision to leave her mom, Cal, and her wealthy lifestyle behind to go into a world of great unknown. And even after Jack's death she still didn't turn back. Her keeping that necklace was almost symbolic of the lifestyle she left behind and when she dropped it in the water, she finally made peace with her life. Jack told Rose before he died, that she would die of old age and warm in her bed after living a fulfilling life. She kept her promise to him. She had kids, lived to be old, finally told her story and was able to die peacefully warm in her bed.
I honestly think that Rose died because of old age because she was pretty old and looked like she could've died any second (honest). If that happened in reality, I would hope that she is still with Jack. Good movie!
I think a look at the original script really adds to this... it is not certain as Cameron originally wrote "We PAN OFF the last picture to Rose herself, warm in her bunk. A profile shot. She is very still. She could be sleeping, or maybe something else."
I think a lot of these comments are projections of what we want to see. What is "true" love? for instance. As a senior myself, I identified with the elderly Rose a bit more than the younger one. Disheartening as it may be for the young, one can have more than one "true" love in one's life, and rarely is the first love the one "true" one. I think the story -- and it is fiction -- is romantic because the unbreakable bond between the lovers can only be broken by death in what is perhaps the world's greatest maritime tragedy. This is the drama of the story. Who wouldn't want to have that kind of memory of one's first love, tragic as it is?! It's why I think the movie resonates with everyone. Rose has lived a full life -- and her husband is irrelevant to this story. On the ship her memories of her first love flood over her (no pun intended). She has kept the necklace all her life, much as some of us do as mementos of precious moments. Throwing it into the ocean smiling, not sad, signifies to me that she knows her life is ending and she wants this precious gift to go back where it belongs, to where she has kept alive feelings for her first, and , yes, probably, her most cherished love. I think the emphasis here is on Rose's memories and those are what she wants to dream her final dream with. It might be comforting to some to think the memories she dreams as she falls asleep are intimations of heaven or another place for the afterlife. But I think this view would diminish the point of the story. The remembered scenes allow her to "relive" that most precious memory and her love with Jack. It's a nice juxtaposition to the ship's mission to locate the Titanic. PS. An added note as to the years in between for Rose. She has to marry someone in her class who will take care of her. Until Jack came along, Rose was resigned to having to marry the jerk her mother chose for her. Jack offered her a way of life that would be exciting and passionate. In 1912, Rose could never have made the choice to marry him. Historically, women were chattel. They could not vote, own property, or divorce. Rose's future, as Jack well knew, was to live her life with a man who would give her a solid, stable one, which she apparently did. However, to enjoy fiction is to "suspend disbelief" -- we want to believe everything that happens in the story is true. It is a romance, albeit with blockbuster special fx. My 2 cents.
Loved the movie..as for the dream/death sequence at the end, I believe all those in attendance on the ship were people who had died in the sinking, and the reason they all applauded? Rose was the only one of them who had survived the sinking, thanks to encouraging words from Jack and her own courage to continue living. Rose, a woman who once sought suicide as a refuge but learned the beauty of life was to be enjoyed the way Jack intended, even if only one heart lives on.
As unbelivable as it sounds, the first time I watched Titanic was only yesterday, in 3D release.
I'm very certain that the last Great Staircase scene was meant as the afterlife meeting. It doesn't feel as a recurring dream, instead it's set as a long awaited return. There would be no applause, if it were not the ultimate reunion.
I agree. The final scene IMO is meant to be the "afterlife" for Rose and Jack. The story is very sentimental, very romantic. Nothing Inception-like about it. The lovers are re-united in death. One problem with your post, tho. The last sentence is faulty cause-and-effect. Audience applause does not give credence to the reunion.