This year was the 20th anniversary of the release of the film Titanic. At the time of the movie’s release, it became the highest grossest film of all time and made worldwide stars of the main actors, Kate Winslet and Leonardo de Caprio.

This summer, I re-watched the film for the first time in over 15 years and there were so many details that I didn’t notice as a child. The first thing I realised was that Rose was only 17 years of age. I had always assumed that she was in her twenties. The second thing I noticed was that she was a girl ahead of her time. Sure she was engaged to be married but she wanted more out of life then being a rich man’s wife. Her family had fallen on hard times and by marrying Cal, she would be set financially for life. Rose, however, has dreams of going to college and educating herself, a thought that horrifies Cal.

The life that has been mapped out for Rose horrifies her so much that she attempts to take her own life. This leads to Jack saving her life and the start of one of the most famous movie love stories of all time. Her mother and fiancé (and really, everyone) gloss over the fact that a teenage girl tried to kill herself. They choose to blame Jack for the change in Rose rather than acknowledge the fact that she might be unhappy. After she meets Jack, however, there is a massive change in Rose. She stands up to her mother and to Cal. When the ship begins to sink, she fights for survival and helps many people in third class escape the rising water levels.

While Titanic is mainly about the sinking of a great ship and the immense loss of life that followed, watching Rose grow from a scared, unhappy teenager into a strong and assertive woman was a pleasant surprise for me.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl 
Girl Museum, Inc.

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