Was There Room For Two?
25 years ago, Titanic sailed into theaters smashing records. The film made history as it remained the highest-grossing movie of all time for over a decade until Avatar was released. The film remains in the fan’s hearts, but the frustration of Jack Dawson’s death remains.” Move over, Rose!” we have all yelled at the screen at least once, but could two have fit on the piece of wood?
The simple answer is yes, but buoyancy dooms the couple. While they could have both fit on the wood piece, the body mass of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet would have made it sink below the waterline. Staying above the water was the key to beating hypothermia, forcing Jack to stay in the icy water. He even notes earlier in the film that as the ship is going down, they need to stay out of the water as long as possible if they want to live.
With the option of both fitting on the piece of wood ruled out, could they have taken turns? No, the goal was to beat hypothermia, and to resubmit in the water is a death sentence. Conserving energy is key, and the small action of transitioning could be enough of an energy loss to seal your fate. Assuming you dried off in between turns, the shock to your body’s metabolism would also be another critical hit.
James Cameron, the director of the film, is very frustrated that fans dare to question if Jack could have survived some other way. He compares it to Romeo and Juliet’s tragic ending, easily avoidable but a romantic tragedy. Jack could have been on the debris if Rose had stayed in the boat, but the stakes of the tragedy drove people to make quick decisions for better or worse. Cameron conducted numerous interviews with survivors and has read as many archived materials as he could get his hands on. His research inspired the film’s ending to best honor lives lost and impacted families. The reality is there were only 6 people documented that survived the waters. Science and history were not in favor of our lovers. It is important to note that James Cameron, the film’s director, is very passionate about the ship and has helped lead numerous research studies on the RMS Titanic before and after the film’s release.
While Jack’s death is tragic and seems unnecessary, that is the reality of a tragic night. Jack and Rose both could have fit but at what cost? The debate was recently addressed in the National Geographic 25th Titanic Anniversary Special, where James Cameron conducted experiments to put the debate to rest. The special will eventually make its way to Disney Plus later in the year. The ending may leave audiences frustrated, but the fact it’s still a debate is a mark of the movie’s lasting impact.
Writer: Alyssa Giaccone
Artist: Alyssa Giaccone