Notable Marxist thinker Slavoj Žižek has come up with an alternate theory for the movie Titanic, claiming that the iceberg actually saved Jack and Rose from themselves.
Those who donate themselves to the nether realms of YouTube will be familiar with noted thinker, and forever inappropriately dressed mope, Slavoj Žižek. For those who aren’t, he’s a philosopher and cultural critic, a superb brain connected to an unfortunate lisp. For whatever reason, he’s also a fan of applying deep philosophical theory to shallow Hollywood romcoms.
In Titanic, Žižek contends that the movie itself is saying something deeper (than the Atlantic) and something infinitely more accessible (than steerage). While you could say that Titanic is about class structure, the nobility of the poor vs the cruelty of the rich, or the hubris of mankind, according to Žižek, it’s actually an ode to the imperfect nature of love in the real world, and the merits of a love story that will forever remain unwritten, or unfulfilled.
The hero of the piece, Žižek contends is not Jack for saving Rose, but rather the iceberg for saving them from each other. For those who have experienced holiday romance, you are well aware that it is much like a volcano. Explosive, hot and ultimately dangerous. And while your mind runs to the equate how much damage it would cause your everyday lives if you brought the volcano back with you, you never do, as you know it’d never be as good as it is on holiday – it is the fact that it couldn’t possibly work, that makes it work.
Žižek claims that the timing of the iceberg is crucial. Just after their steamy joust in a jalopy, Rose tells Jack that she’ll be forgoing her life of comfort in order to choose him. So, plans set, and then:
Žižek contends that the iceberg arrived just in time to deny Jack and Rose their chance to ruin their idealised union. In Žižek’s words “one can safely guess that soon, the misery of everyday life would destroy their love”, whereas with the iceberg striking the ship, and Jack ultimately perishing, their love would indeed sail forever, on the famous, doomed gallantry of the Titanic, no less. A love story on a historically important event? Hot. This is evidenced by the final scene when Rose dies, and travels back to the now refurbished Titanic, to be with her love forevermore. In that scene, they are both young, pretty and alive. Roll credits, and it’s just onions I swear to God.
The key is that the last scene is obviously in Rose’s head, so, if they were allowed to live their less-than-idealised life in New York, what would be her last memory be? It would be of the lives they shared, but in that life, how many times would she have regretted taking that crazy chance in her youth? Would she recall the man Jack became, not who he was? Probably. Those who have lived it know that love, even in its purest form, is an existence of grating struggle. One where the ugliness of the mundane triumphs over the beauty of the feelings that brought you both together.
Worthy to note that ahead of them both is the Great Depression, and 1920-1921’s Forgotten Depression, but Žižek contends that the true depression will continue to spool in Rose’s mind for simply knowing what happens when she lives out her fantasy. However, not knowing, is beautiful. In conclusion, the iceberg striking the hull exists, in Žižek’s words “in order to safe (sic) their love, in order to sustain the illusion that, if it were not to happen, they would have lived happily ever after.”
Which, of course, is the ending that we’re forever promised, but bitterly denied. There was only room for one on the door, primarily the reason why her heart goes on, and on, even beyond the grave.