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A Classic, Sweeping Love Story
I fell in love with this movie instantly after viewing it for the first time. Many people ridicule this film for its idealistic and often 'mushy' romance, and for the lovers' passionate relationship after being acquainted for no more than two days. Of course, perhaps 'Titanic' isn't the most believable story of all time, but in my eyes it's certainly one of the most entertaining. I don't watch movies to see reality, I see enough of that every day. If reality is what I had been hoping for when viewing 'Titanic', I would have been sorely disappointed in the love story (despite it's breathtakingly accurate portrayal of the ship's infamous death).
No, 'Titanic' is more of a fairytale, one that sweeps you away and holds your attention until it's ending. It is the unforgettable tale of Jack, a poor but kind-hearted street urchin, and Rose, a wealthy but misunderstood young woman. When fate brings them together on the first and last voyage of the Titanic, they must face many trials and tribulations in order to pursue their forbidden love. Keeping them apart is Rose's mother, who insists that her daughter marry a stuck-up rich man, and Cal, Rose's malicious fiancé to whom she is to be wedded by force. While Jack and Rose are willing to face these odds for each other, there are some things which cannot be faced down, one of them being an iceberg, the ultimate destruction of their relationship.
Despite its joyous fairytale like aspects, it is still very tragic. A feel-good romance and a tragic epic all in one, like a brilliant cross between 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Cinderella'. For the first half of the movie I was overwhelmed with a wonderful feeling. For the second half I was near tears. Finally, the movie's amazing conclusion was sending chills down my spine, and I felt as if I couldn't decide if I was happy or sad.
Leanardo DiCaprio is mischievous yet sweet-natured as Jack, and masterfully brings across what is, in my opinion, the most memorable and lovable role in the entire film. I found Kate Winslet almost, yet not quite, as impressive as DiCaprio in her role as Rose, who although seeming perfectly content and fortunate outwardly is misunderstood and desperately miserable inside. Jack sees this hidden part of her, recognizing her longing for freedom and helps her to fulfill it. The remaining cast shines as well.
Watch this movie. Enjoy it. Forget the real world, and lose yourself in 'Titanic'.
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Beautiful Modernization of Shakespeare's Classic Play
The amazing thing about this movie is that it has managed to re-do Shakespeare's famous tragedy in a modern setting while still retaining its original dialogue. What's even more amazing is it works. I admit that I was a little apprehensive about seeing this movie, fearing that Luhrman had either destroyed the play's beauty and power by setting it in modern times, or had butchered Shakespeare's eloquent words by making them sound more modern. I was wrong. Almost everything about this movie is just incredible.
Luhrman brilliantly casted Claire Danes as fourteen-year-old Juliet. The actress certainly looks the part, with her youthful features and innocent eyes. More importantly, she acts the part. Ms. Danes almost flawlessly captures Juliet's distressing journey from childhood to womanhood, beautifully showing her dramatic transition which had taken toll on her during her five day relationship with Romeo. When the story begins, Juliet is a naive girl, having not yet experienced true love, and by the end we can clearly see just how much her love for Romeo has deepened in passion, and how dramatically her character has developed.
Leanardo DeCaprio's Romeo was almost equally impressive. Some of his recitations of Shakespeare made me cringe, but for the most part he was perfect. One of Romeo's most important characteristics in the play is the intensity of his emotions, and DeCaprio captures this feature incredibly. Romeo is brash and impulsive, with a tendency to act on the heat of the moment rather than to first consider the situation like the more levelheaded Juliet. This unfortunate characteristic, which played a huge role in leading up to the lovers' tragic fate, is wonderfully mastered by DeCaprio and retained throughout the film. But we also, like with Juliet, get a glimpse of his character's development. At the beginning of the play Romeo is a hopeless romantic who fantasizes of love, and seems to dwell more in his daydreamed world than actually on earth. At this point he has no idea what true love really is, he only thinks he does. It is not until he meets Juliet that he can begin to comprehend the true depth and passion of love. DeCaprio triumphs in this area as well.
The other actors are superb, and wonderfully portray their characters as Shakespeare intended. But what really impressed me was, as I stated earlier, the keeping of Shakespeare's original dialogue in Luhrman's modern setting. I know some people criticize this film for destroying the romance and beauty of Shakespeare's words by setting the story in modern day Verona, but I feel that it only made the film more romantic. What Luhrman did was both bold and brilliant, and he succeeded wonderfully.
I won't speak any more of the brilliance of this film, I just highly recommend you see it as soon as possible. If you're a fan of Shakespeare like me, I think you will enjoy this hip, yet still lovely, modernization of his most famous play ever.