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USA 1997
Directed by
James Cameron
194 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars


Whilst everyone marvelled at the re-creation of the Titanic and its sinking in this film, James Cameron's work was faulted by some at the time of the film's release for its Mill & Boon-ish romantic plot yet in there is such a beautiful match between form and content here that this would seem to be an issue only for the most cynical.Yes, Titanic at least in its main story, is a grand romance in the old fashioned manner but when it's this well done, what's wrong with that?

Although a little too old for their supposed age (they needed to be seventeen years old in order to get the modern sections of the screenplay to work) Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are quite wonderful as the star-crossed lovers, Rose and Jack, who meet on the doomed ship on which she is travelling to a loveless marriage to her very wealthy but arrogant fiancé (Billy Zane), he to a Whitmanesque life of carpe diem bohemianism. Writer.director Cameron takes an age old romantic plot device of head versus heart and cleverly integrates it into the story of the sinking of the Titanic (although the opening sequence showing the cynicism of our modern times is unnecessarily crass). Cameron's use of modern studio technology has always been an impressive aspect of his films but even more impressively he always integrates it seamlessly into his story-telling. Here he does it again, superbly balancing fact and fiction in what is one of the very rare examples of a successful contemporary old school epic. 

The film cost $200m to make and there was pre-release apprehension that it was going to lose money but it turned into a monster hit, deservedly winning 11 Oscars including Best Picture and  Best Director for Cameron and Best Actress for Winslet.

FYI: The scenes set in 1912 have a total length of two hours and forty minutes, the same time it took for Titanic to sink whilst the collision with the iceberg reportedly lasted 37 seconds, which is how long the collision scene lasts for in the movie.




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