This December will be the 20th anniversary of the release of James Cameron’s epic romantic masterpiece Titanic. 20 years ago, the film touched the hearts of audiences everywhere and dominated at the Academy Awards. The film was nominated for 14 Oscars and ended up winning 11 total, including the top prizes for Best Picture and Best Director for Cameron.
20 years after this blockbuster brought all of us to tears, there is still a very heated debate happening over that controversial ending. Could Jack have lived? If Rose just shifted over slightly, could he have shared the space with her on that door instead of meeting his ultimate demise in the icy cold waters after the ship went down?
According to Vanity Fair‘s new interview with director James Cameron, none of that matters. Cameron has been defending the film’s ending for years and years on end and, he’s finally given fans the actual, true reason why Jack would have never lived. Pure and simple reason – it wasn’t written in the script. Cameron said:
“And the answer is very simple because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies. Very simple. . . . Obviously, it was an artistic choice, the thing was just big enough to hold her, and not big enough to hold him.”
Cameron admittedly finds the whole debate amusing and attributes the fact that we are still having this conversation 20 years later with Jack’s endearing character. Cameron said:
“I think it’s all kind of silly, really, that we’re having this discussion 20 years later. But it does show that the film was effective in making Jack so endearing to the audience that it hurts them to see him die. Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless.”
Cameron continues to explain that the ending was never about the actual physics of whether or not Jack could survive but, it was done purely for artistic reasons. He said:
“The film is about death and separation; he had to die. So whether it was that, or whether a smoke stack fell on him, he was going down. It’s called art, things happen for artistic reasons, not for physics reasons…. I was in the water with the piece of wood putting people on it for about two days getting it exactly buoyant enough so that it would support one person with full free-board, meaning that she wasn’t immersed at all in the 28-degree water so that she could survive the three hours it took until the rescue ship got there. [Jack] didn’t know that she was gonna get picked up by a lifeboat an hour later; he was dead anyway. And we very, very finely tuned it to be exactly what you see in the movie because I believed at the time, and still do, that that’s what it would have taken for one person to survive.”
So, there we have it. The ultimate, definitive answer to the 20-year-old controversy that is the ending of Titanic. What do you think of James Cameron’s statements on the film’s ending? Are you satisfied with his reasoning? Sound off in the comment section below!
A karaoke obsessed, craft beer enthusiast and lover of all things pop culture, Denise enjoys all facets of entertainment from Broadway to box office blockbusters. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, concerts (lots and lots of concerts), volunteering, reading and playing with her rescue kitten, Samantha (who rescued who, right?).