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It’s Thanksgiving, which means you’re probably about to hear some terrible political opinions. As a refreshing palate-cleanser, every day this week the editors of Marie Claire will be sharing their most tightly-held unpopular opinions on a range of decidedly non-political subjects—in case you need something more interesting to fight about at dinner. See yesterday's here (opens in new tab).
You know that really iconic scene from Titanic? The one where Rose is floating on a seemingly large wardrobe door while Jack dangles from the door's edge, sinking further into the frigid water to his eventual hypothermic death?And Rose bids him a tearful farewell, watching his body drop to the ocean floor? That was a really good call on Rose's part.
Many have tried to argue (opens in new tab) that Rose could have scooted over and hoisted her man up onto her floating furniture. But those points are completely moot. Because what seems like a brutal display of unrequited love was the second-smartest decision Rose made in the whole movie, right after leaving that nude portrait in the safe as a checkmate to her dirtbag fiancé.
Here is why I think Rose was right to let Jack perish:
Imagine what the movie would have been like if Jack lived.
What, would the two of them have run off together to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, where Jack was hustling his way through poker games and painting other women like one of his French girls? I don't think so. No offense, but I think Jack served his purpose: To teach Rose that life is about more than just the superficial.
If the movie showed more of Rose's post-Titanic life, I imagine it would be filled with the adventures of an independent woman, free from the frivolous demands of a rigid upper-class lifestyle. We even get a brief glimpse of this in the beginning of the movie: The camera pans across Rose's current living room, filled with framed photos of old memories and souvenirs from various parts of the world. Maybe in this version, Jack dies so that Rose can live—not just literally, but figuratively, and without being led there by a man (be it Jack or Cal).
Also, physics matters!
Smithsonian Magazine successfully tested that there was more than enough room for Jack to fit on Rose's floating piece of furniture. But the question was never a matter of could Jack fit. It was would they both float?
Without going too deep into the math and science of it all, it basically boils down to buoyancy. According to Physics Central (opens in new tab), the oak doors likely used on the Titanic—combined with Rose and Jack's weight—would be greater than the buoyant force of the salt water.
Translation: They both would sink and die.
And as much as I love the Mythbusters (opens in new tab) video that attempts to prove otherwise, their theory isn't worth entertaining. The video suggests that if Rose had tied her lifejacket underneath the door, it would have positioned their bodies 80 percent above water, lasting long enough to prevent fatal hypothermia. But that would require Rose to remove her only real floatation device, and she was definitely too busy blowing that whistle (and being super, super cold) to ever think of that.
Ultimately, Jack had to die.
Even filmmaker James Cameron agrees. In an interview with Vanity Fair (opens in new tab), Cameron was asked why Rose didn't make room for Jack. His response was straightforward: "Because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies."
And there you have it. An unpopular but correct opinion. If Jack had climbed onto the furniture with Rose, they'd both be dead. Maybe you should follow her lead and let Jack go. I promise, your heart will go on.
Alexis Jones is an assistant editor at Women's Health where she writes across several verticals on WomensHealthmag.com, including life, health, sex and love, relationships and fitness, while also contributing to the print magazine. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University, lives in Brooklyn, and proudly detests avocados.
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