Twenty-two years ago, one of my favorite movies of all time was released to the world. No, I’m not talking about Mouse Hunt. No one talks about Mouse Hunt anymore. I’, talking about Titanic.
Look, I know it’s fun to shit on this movie, but I have a love for it that is deep and eternal. Here’s the thing though—it was never just about Leo, for me, it was about the completely avoidable human tragedy that anyone who could do some basic math (people > lifeboats) would have seen coming. It’s a movie about love, yes, but also the inequities of class and gender, breaking free of how others define you, and also, a very solid disaster epic which is basically my favorite type of movie. Titanic is a great movie that holds up, but since a large part of its success was due to teenagers, it’s shit on. Which, you know, never happens, ever, so that’s a shock.
…then there is Leo. I remember Leo-mania very well, because as a tween/teen during its heyday, he was on the cover of basically every thing. Titanic was the grand crescendo which was already in top gear because only a year before, he had starred in the criminally great (and I would argue, definitive) version of Romeo and Juliet alongside Claire Danes. Yet, Titanic holds my heart, and I believe it to be his best role.
Leo built his career on the hearts of the teens and tweens who loved him. I have no doubt in my mind a large part of the success of Titanic was due to how many damn times people in my peer group saw the movie in theaters. Friends, I know I went at least three times during its original run, when I was 13. I also know my friend saw it at least five times. We were hardly an aberration in this. There’s just something about this movie that struck a chord with us. Maybe because it tapped into teenage Rose’s angst, and thus all of ours, with lines like “I feel I’m standing in the middle of a crowded room, screaming at the top of my lungs, and no one even looks up.” Leo, as Jack, was her ever faithful, love-at-first-sight boyfriend who saved her life, sexed her up but good, literally died for her, and the most magical thing he did? He f*cking listened to Rose when no one else in her life would. I mean, come on! At thirteen, you couldn’t top that (for me, at least.) Leo still can’t top that—and you will never convince me that wrestling a bear was his greatest cinematic feat.
Is the movie realistic in its portrayal of Jack and Rose’s romance-on-steroids, falling in love for a lifetime over approximately three days? Well, no, but why does it have to be?
Was there room on the flotsam for him? Technically yes, but he had to die because Rose had to go live her life without him so that they could be reunited at her death, at the site where they first met. Duh. (She deffo, deffo died at the end. It was not a dream, friends.)
For all these reasons, and because 13-year old Katy Hudson would be horrified if I didn’t declare it so, Titanic is Leonardo DiCaprio’s best role, and will forever remain so.
This, is obviously, his best scene:
Image sources (in order of posting): 20th Century Fox, YouTube