Back to the Titanic 15 years later

I went to the movies for the first time in a couple of years (I know, I know, I don’t get out much). It was a special occasion: Titanic’s re-release after 15 years.

15 years.

Yes, it’s been a decade and a half since I was a teenager going off to see the movie three times in theatres. First with friends. Then with family. I forget who went with me the third time around. Maybe a guy who was so romantic, I’ve simply just wiped him from my mind. (If that’s the case, I’m pretty sure he looked a lot like Josh Lucas. But I digress.)

I was 17 and in Grade 11. Back when I could stop by the gas station and say, “Put’er on the tab.” Back when gas was $0.62 a litre. Back when I weighed 135 pounds. Good times.

My, things have changed.

Gas is $1.40+ a litre and I pay for it with my own debit card. And my weight? I’m not telling but it’s definitely not 135 pounds.

I was excited to see the old movie in 3D. The 3D aspect was a bit disappointing, mostly because it was nauseating and headache-inducing whenever there was any action afoot. Taking the 3D glasses off helped (though some of the water and lifeboat scenes were very realistic).

There were about 20 people in the theatre—which was enough, considering all the adults laughing behind me during the portrait scene (I guess they never saw a naked woman wearing a million dollar necklace before). It also surprised me how many elementary age kids were there, given the movie’s swearing, death scenes, and Kate Winslet’s naked breasts.

I’ll admit, I may have watered up a little even though it was my 15 millionth time seeing it. Knowing it’s a true story (the character of Officer Murdoch notwithstanding) makes it even sadder. Over 1,500 died on the Titanic, even if it wasn’t Jack Dawson. When I see the old couple on the bed, or the mother tucking in her children, I tear up like a baby. A baby.

I learned not to wear mascara. Fourth time’s the charm.

It’s hard to believe so much time has passed since I first saw the movie as a teenager.

For my Grade 12 prom, I found a dress that had a certain Edwardian appeal, which I played up with a handbag and silver slippers. I bypassed the corset, though.

I played the piano during a classmate’s rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” at our grad banquet. I wore my blue diamond Heart of the Ocean, which I bought in Mahone Bay. It’s made of Austrian crystal, not diamonds, but it was a nice keepsake of the time. It doesn’t look quite like the one in the movie, but close enough. And no, I have never been drawn in it.

The movie has its faults. There are some historical liberties taken, the make-up is too dark (sorry, but lipliner?) and the love story is a bit farfetched. In reality, Rose probably would’ve gotten pregnant or syphilis.

But the period costumes are beautiful and I love Rose’s determination to survive.

People may make fun of the movie, but it represents two distinct moments in time: 1912 as the world neared the end of the gilded age; and 1997, before the world changed on 9/11.

And my life has changed a lot since I was an innocent teenager with lots of dreams and no student loans.

For better or worse, the movie has informed my consciousness and my writing. My undergraduate creative writing thesis revolved around the sinking of the S.S. Atlantic, which was the Titanic of 1873, an event which was perhaps even more tragic because not one woman survived and only one child.

Some day I’d like to stop by Fairview Cemetery to visit the graves of those who were brought to Halifax. It’s been 100 years since the Titanic sank. I’ve already seen the deck chair at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, as well as the piece of panelling which inspired the wood which keeps Rose afloat.

Where does time go?

Here are 15 years, gone like that. And 100 years, gone almost as fast.

This picture of “The Titanic” was taken at the Public Gardens in Halifax. Note the duck; it gives you an idea of the size of the model. (I wore the necklace to my Grade 12 grad banquet when a classmate and I performed “My Heart Will Go On”.)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. cicispage says:

    Great story! I was the same as you, I saw the movie 4 times in theatre and the 5th time exactly 100 years ago when the Titanic sank, April 15, I’ve seen the movie many many times and I still do get choked up when the mother tucks in her two little children, so tragic. Again, great read 🙂

  2. Julie says:

    Thanks! Yeah, I’m a sucker for a sad movie, especially when it’s real. And watching the news, there’s usually at least one story that tears me up.

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