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This is an odd film. It takes an historical disaster, the sinking of the Titanic and it adds a saccharine love story on top that supposedly makes the film more accessible. First, let's talk design. James Cameron and his crew have really outdone themselves here. The Oscars and other awards won for these categories were deserved. The promenade set is a sight to behold, and when we finally get to see the ship sink, we see an amalgam of miniatures and computer effects put one of the 20th century's worst disasters indelibly on film. The way Cameron influences our emotions with secondary characters is very well done. We see flashes of families in the third class who know they are going to die soon. Old couples, families with small children. Seeing them is truly heartbreaking, and it is for those people that I mourn when I think of the Titanic. However, instead of letting these images tell the story, Cameron has included a love story on top to make the movie more palatable to audiences. To me, this is the only weakness of the film. The acting is fine (Kathy Bates is brilliant as Unsinkable Molly Brown), but since the main storyline is the weakness of the film, this creates a problem. The fact the relationship was extra-marital didn't help proceedings.
Overall, we have a very good movie let down by Hollywood schmaltz. Without the love story, this would have been a masterpiece.