It’s a question that’s plagued Titanic fans since the beginning: Couldn’t Rose have made some room for Jack on that floating door instead of leaving him to die in the icy water?
People have long argued that the large, floating wooden door would have been stable enough to support both Jack and Rose and have even used physics to back up their claims. People really didn’t understand, why Jack stayed in the water when it meant certain death.
So why did Jack freeze to death? Did he have a death wish? Did Rose have some sinister ulterior motive for not scooching over a bit and letting Jack up? Is there more to Titanic’s love story than meets the eye.
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After 20 years and $2 billion at the box office, director James Cameron finally has an answer:
Look, it’s very, very simple.
You read page 147 of the script and it says, ‘Jack gets off the board and gives his place to her so that she can survive.’ It’s that simple.
Cameron goes on to reference the TV show Mythbusters, whose hosts tackled the Rose-Jack door conundrum back in 2012. In that episode, they found that Rose (Kate Winslet) and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) could have survived together on the raft by using their life vests to keep the door propped up.
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Cameron, who appeared at the end of the episode, said the hosts were missing the point:
The script says Jack dies, he has to die. Maybe we screwed up. The board should have been a tiny bit smaller. But the dude’s going down.
In his recent interview, he explains that it would have taken an agonizing five to 10 minutes for hypothermia-stricken Jack to have removed his life vest, remove Rose’s life vest, swim underwater, and find a way to properly attach the vests to the raft. (Interestingly, Jack wasn’t wearing a life vest in the movie, but whatever.)
The best choice was to keep his upper body out of the water and hope to get pulled out by a boat or something before he died,” Cameron says, adding playfully that the Mythbusters hosts are “fun guys” but “full of s**t.”
The primary reason James Cameron felt the character Jack had to die seems to be the fact the audience wanted him to stay alive.
The film was effective in making Jack so endearing to the audience that it hurts them to see him die.
Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless.
And Cameron even took a shot at those who used physics to prove Jack could have lived, saying: “It’s called art, things happen for artistic reasons, not for physics reasons.”
So there you go. Jack didn’t jump onto the door with Rose because the movie’s ending would have suffered as a result.
That may be a fine enough explanation for some, though even actress Kate Winslet has nagging guilt about her character’s failure to help her freezing lover. In February, she admitted to late-night host Jimmy Kimmel that Jack “could have actually fit on that bit of door.”
Something tells us that the debate will go on and on.