By Katina Handrinos
In 1997, a movie was released that forever altered both American culture and cinema. It had romance, tragedy, and one door that became incredibly controversial. It was none other than Titanic, the movie that put Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet on the map and earned over two billion dollars at the box office. On this movie’s 25th anniversary, The Banner is looking back to see what made Titanic the cultural touchstone it is now and if it has stood the test of time.
Titanic begins with treasure hunter Brock Lovett and his team in the depths of the North Atlantic Ocean. They are searching the RMS Titanic for the Heart of the Ocean, a 45-carat blue diamond necklace that was onboard the ship. Instead of finding this multi-million dollar jewelry piece, they discover a drawing of a young woman wearing that very necklace. This woman is Rose; once she’s brought onboard Lovett’s brig, the real story begins.
Through Rose’s recounting of her experience on Titanic, the audience comes to know the intimate relationship she developed as a 17-year-old socialite with the struggling artist Jack; despite her being betrothed to the slimy son of a millionaire, Cal, Rose and Jack begin to get to know each other. It seems Jack is the only one who truly understands Rose’s desire to explore the world, even though they come from different socioeconomic classes. Director James Cameron weaves a tale of devastation, passion, and adventure as Jack and Rose’s star-crossed love comes against all odds, even the sinking of the Ship of Dreams. Titanic truly has it all: the catastrophe of the ship’s collision with the infamous iceberg and subsequent sinking, the tender and intense love that Jack and Rose share until the bitter end, and the huge recreation of the Titanic ship that is just one part of the production design that looms so large. This movie propelled Leonardo DiCaprio into heartthrob status and many of its lines remain iconic today, like “I’m the king of the world!”. While some critics may not see it as anything more than a blockbuster, Titanic really does stand the test of time and should be remembered as a trailblazer in larger-than-life filmmaking.