A Nightmare in the Ship of Dreams: A Titanic Movie Review (Marxism)
By Danella Diaz
"I'll never let go, I promise", almost every person who got to watch the movie "Titanic" experienced on how it is to be Rose because no one seemed to be able to let go of this very wonderful movie. "Titanic" is made in the year 1997 by the golden hands of James Cameron, which has shown the real-life story behind the sinking of the Titanic, a beautiful Olympic-class passenger line. The maiden is divided into 3 parts based on the class, where 1500 people died on its first voyage in 1912, the movie magnificently showed a great love story that rose in a sinking ship and how survival depended on the social and economic class of people. A great movie that mirrors the world's prejudice between the first and third class. See how Karl Marx theory on social classes comes true and alive in this movie that is greatly wrapped up in 3 hours and 15 minutes
The story all began in the expedition of Brock Lovett, an undersea explorer, to find the precious jewel called "heart of the ocean" but found a nude painting of a girl, who was actually Rose, and there she started to reminisce and tell how she found love and injustice in the sinking of the unsinkable ship. In the year 1912, the awaited day of the first voyage of the ship of dreams had arrived, people from the first, middle and third class excitedly boarded the maiden including Jack Dawson a penniless guy who got lucky and had the chance to experience such luxury in his life. And there he met Rose Dewitt Bukater whom he saved and showed the life she's been missing out, drinking cheap beers, dancing with the third class people and most especially being free and loved truly for who she is, stripped from the grandiose clothing, porcelain doll face and high status in life. Ruth Dewitt Bukater, Rose's mother bluntly expressed her dislike and disgust with Jack because aside from being a part of the third class, Rose is engaged to a wealthy, controlling and rude socialite, Caledon Hockley who had framed Jack. And one night as the passengers were enjoying, the ship officers weren't able to see immediately the large iceberg that the ship was about to hit. Unluckily the emergency boats are not enough to accommodate and save all the passengers, so they decided to relocate and advised the first class first to ride the escape boats while leaving the middle and third class people locked at the lower dock. After the ship was divided into halves and eventually sunk, 1500 passengers were left floating in the cold waters of Atlantic while not knowing if what they are waiting for is help or their very own death. In the end, only 6 people were being saved in the ocean plus the 700 people who used the emergency boats and everyone else embraced death like how the freezing water had embraced them.
The movie is rich with different kinds of inequality and unfair treatment due to difference in the social status of the passengers. The prejudice about these social classes can already be seen in the early parts of the movie, where the third class are located at the lower dock of the ship and their rooms are crowded, while middle class people stay on the middle dock and the first class passengers or the elites, are located at the highest part, where every room was huge and made with a touch of luxury and sophistication, and let us not forget the most unfortunate of all, the people that are working for the ship to sail, who are located in the lowest part of the deck, enduring the burning atmosphere while inhaling the smoke coming out of the machines. Another sense of prejudice has been manifested, when Ruth, Rose's mother told her to stay away from Jack, because he is disgusting and poor and she wanted Caledon, a wealthy man to be Rose's husband, in here we can see that aside from degrading the lower class, "marriage for convenience" became rampant. The sacrament is being used for personal and selfish reasons, in which a wealthy person can only be married with the same class because of the thinking that money and power should only circulate within the elites and a low class man does not have the rights to marry a person with a higher class. Another proof was when Caledon framed Jack, and because Caledon was known to be rich and powerful, the officials only listened to him and imprisoned Jack, not minding his explanations even though he is innocent. To think that officials should impose fair policies and judgment, they became dogs to the powerful individuals that add to the aggregating effects of social injustices, which make the poor more unfortunate not only in financial aspect but also in practicing their human rights. Lastly, the most remarkable example of inequality portrayed in the movie is when the boat is sinking and due to lack of emergency boats, the officials prioritize the elites first like the lives of the lower class doesn't have any worth at all. This scene displayed the worst kind of social inequality in the movie, where not only money, rights and freedom of the poor are snatched and deprived of them; this scene portrayed how their lives' destinies had been decided based on their social status in life.
The film was very successful not only in portraying how the Titanic had sunk but also in conveying its message to the watchers especially on how it has proven a Marxism theory, "history is based on unending class conflict". It was able to creatively show how the system of social injustice is slowly eating the sense of equality and unity that should prevail in our world. Due to difference in social classes, the gap between people continues to grow while crab mentality is slowly creeping its way in, because the elites keeps on wanting to have everything in their plate, leaving the lower class paralyzed and unable to rise. The movie may have ended with the fulfillment of a promise, still, years after the devastating catastrophe the wound is still fresh and painful because it is a tragedy that was supposed to be fair to all but was only served in a silver platter to people who can't afford to eat with golden spoon in their mouths.