They said you might be up here…
That was the last time Titanic ever saw daylight.
Titanic (film) trivia: The flying scene was shot on four different locations in and around the set. The pieces were then edited together to form a single seamless sequence. One notable location was Rosarito Beach where the scene was filmed outdoor with an actual sunset backdrop which was shot only in one take. James Cameron recalls the weather not being particularly great that day but suddenly the clouds parted and there was a beautiful light. Kate Winslet urged James Cameron to shoot the scene while the sunset was at its peak regardless of not having time for rehearsals. Several segments of that one take were used in the film’s final cut. Pick-up shots were filmed later on a sound stage with an artificial sunset background duplicated from the real one shot in Rosarito Beach.
The “Flying scene” is one of the most iconic film scenes of all time, if not, the film’s most famous and beloved. It comes in a close second for me, with the ending scene at #1, just one-upping it for the whole…you know…eternal life, complete-promise stuff. But, the flying scene offers so much more than meets the eye.
Rose finds Jack at the bow of the ship after Fabrizio and Tommy told her that he might be up there. The bow was where Jack had previously declared he was “King of the world.” Its safe to say he returned for a pick-me up after Rose turned him down during his last ditch effort to convince her to break free.
Her pivotal line is not even remotely remembered, yet it is the turning point for the entire film (other than the iceberg of course). “I changed my mind” is my favorite movie line of all time. Rose’s delivery of it makes the line. She shrugs her shoulders in surrender to her deepest wishes, to her heart, and simply says it as though she surprised herself. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than someone realizing they can take off their own shackles, and that they had the power to all along.
As she steps forward into her own liberation, Jack shushes her. He grasps how perfect this moment is, and doesn’t want to waste it. Only two scenes ago, Jack was pleading with Rose for her to choose better for herself. Jack expressed that all he wanted was to know that Rose would be alright. He placed the value of her life over his love for her, as he did throughout the entire film, and in this scene it really gets me.
Moments ago, Jack was probably feeling pretty low. Here comes Rose, and instead of seeking the validation from her to make himself feel better, he knows instantly what he wants to do in this moment. In other romance films, this is when the male protagonist would sweep the woman into his arms for a passionate kiss. Instead, Jack empowers Rose so that she can come into her new-found freedom after making one of the scariest choices of her life. While Cal only offered Rose royalty in the form of materialism, Jack offered it in experiential freedom. He offers Rose the highest form of happiness he knows, and anoints her Queen along side his King, at the bow of the ship.
He provides her with an experience exploding with exhalation. She doesn’t have to imagine what flying free feels like, because she is. Jack’s presence supports her first flight until their feelings for one another can longer remain contained.
In a slow, continuous motion, their bodies morph into one another, joined at the lips.
Placing his own love after Rose’s liberation is what makes this scene so extraordinarily exceptional.
Come Josephine in my flying machine…
And it’s up she goes, up she goes…
You have a gift Jack, you do. You see people.
I see you.
You wouldn’t have jumped.