jack and cal + the lighter
“So there’s no uh, there’s no ‘arrangement’, is there?”
“No there is… not that you’ll benefit much from it…”
As many of you probably know, I am a Cal fan. I ship Cal and Rose. Caledon Hockley is my favorite character in this whole movie. And you wanna know why? Because he was the most complex character in the whole film. James Cameron even made comments about how worried he was that he made Cal a “one-dimensional villian” – which he is not.
And I know it’s more of a popular opinion to dislike him, or even outright hate him. But there is so much more to him than anyone sees. Jack, in my opinion, was a bland character. We had no background on him and his archetype as the hero is appearant in almost every romantic film. But Cal, on the other hand, emotes so many different layers throughout the film: anger, jealousy, betrayal… His development as a character evolves dramatically as the film goes on.
In the beginning, we see him as simply another arrogant rich boy with daddy’s bank account. But as we look closer, Cal booked tickets on the “Ship of Dreams” for him, Rose and Ruth. (And also, Cal seems like a pretty smart guy. If he can come up with an elaborate plan to frame Jack, he can realize that Rose was using him for his money.) And still, he tried to impress her by booking them the literal nicest, biggest suite on the whole ship and Rose only complained, saying it wasn’t “half as big as the Maurtania” and that there wasn’t enough color on the walls. And with that, Cal made it known that he disliked Rose’s sense of fine art, but he let her hang up her paintings that he bought her anyways, giving her much more freedom to decide than other men of the era would have allowed.
And then, when he presents Rose with the Heart of the Ocean she simply isn’t fazed, when that thing probably cost more than a college tuiton in today’s money!!! He even gets down on his knees and begs her to allow her self to fall in love with him (“open your heart to me, Rose…”), knowing that he had probably already messed up somewhere along the way. He recognizes that she’s upset (“I know you’ve been melancholy, I don’t pretend to know why…”) and she still turns him away.
And don’t get me wrong. I love Rose. Her character inspires me, as it has inspired many young women. But I also can’t get over the fact that she, in some ways, was wrong. She ran off with a boy she hardly knew while Cal was trying as hard as he could, in the best way he knew how to win her affections. He had every right to be angry and jealous.
I know what it’s like to be cheated on. IT. HURTS. A. LOT
You could tell when Rose jumped back off the lifeboat to be with Jack it packed a punch right to his heart. When he shouted after them, “I hope you enjoy your time together!” there was so much pain and hurt in his eyes. (And I just always wanna jump through the screen and give him a hug because he really needed one, let’s be real…)He gave up a secured spot on a lifeboat to make sure she was going to make it on one. He wanted to make sure that she would survive and she still chose to be with Jack.
And while Cal had every right in his mind to be angry, he however had no right to hit Rose. Physically abusive relationships are wrong and if you, in any way, are in one I sincerely hope you will muster the strength to leave and/or seek help. Rose was right in that respect to have a justifiable reason to leave Cal.
And I will also admit he had some other moments where I agree that he was a jerk. He framed an innocent man, he did a cowardly action to save his own skin…But beneath all of that, he was still human. In times of disaster/anger, we can do impulsive things. Of course, I don’t agree with his actions but he doesn’t need to be looked as just a terrible person. Billy Zane even agrees that Cal is “misunderstood” and that if he had been given the chance he would’ve “looked for redemption to right his wrongs”. Cal isn’t just a “bad guy” or even the “villian” of Titanic.
He tried, in the beginning, to tolerate Jack. He even invited him to dinner with his social circle the following evening, knowing it could’ve probably gone very badly for him because he was such a lower-class passenger. It wasn’t until he realized Rose was cheating on him with Jack that he began to hate him.
Cal cared for Rose. He loved her in every way that he knew how. And in the end, she hid from him, making him believe she had died – which probably left quite a scar on him, knowing the last time he saw her he was shooting at her with a gun. (This has always irritated me, she should’ve at least given him peace of mind that she was alright. That was selfish of Rose once again, in my opinion to not show her face at all on the Carpathia.)
I think many people that watch this movie forget that this all took place in 1912. Back then, high-class women didn’t have the right to vote, let alone have a say in their relationship with their betrothed/husband. His possessive/controlling behavior was a product of the time. Men didn’t respect women. It sucked. (We should all be glad that today we have more privelege than back in the day.)
And Cal probably couldn’t comprehend the kind of love that Rose wanted because he was never given it himself. (My theory is that Cal was abused growing up, and so that’s why he too had abusive tendencies – he had no other way of showing his anger/jealousy and he thought becoming violent was the only way. But that is just my theory, anyone reading this certainly have another view.)
But, in conclusion, (because now I’m rambling), Cal was human (as I’ve stated before). He had the right to feel what he felt. I hope my view has helped some of you to be more open-minded to his character and perhaps even look at him standing in his shoes. (Which are probably hella designer.) Of course, anyone has the right to disagree – I’m not trying to shove anything down anyone’s throats. We all love what we love. Just in my case, it’s the sassy antagonist.
Feel free to state your opinions in the replies or even shoot me a message/ask letting me know your thoughts! I’m open to whatever you guys have to say! (Also, if you actually read all of this, thank you, I always write a lot. Always have, probably always will.)
movie moodboards » titanic (1997)