Song: My Heart Will Go On
Artist: Celine Dion
Song: My Heart Will Go On
Artist: Celine Dion
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.
James Horner’s Titanic score was the first film score I ever listened to without the film playing. But the thing about Titanic’s score is that you certainly don’t need the film playing to enjoy it. Horner and Cameron both respectively created such masterful pieces of art that you can easily listen to the score alone, and immediately see images from the film in your mind, or watch the film on mute and hear the score anyway.
The above piece is constructed of two songs. If you’re a diehard fan of the film or movie scores, you know that this particular piece has never been made commercially available…not even in the recent release. It’s essentially “Rose” and “Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave,” combined. But don’t be fooled, the “Rose” used was not the album version. It utilized the recently released, “Rose Alternate” as well as a never before released version of “Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave,” that takes away the bagpipes, and emphasizes the sweeping strings and synth instead.
I would love to know how this piece was chosen for the ending. I would love to know if it was all Horner. If Cameron had input. Because it’s creation is nothing short of movie-thematic genius.
This unique piece combines both emotional plot lines, by combining both thematic melodies, which were played during Rose’s highest script peaks.
As this music begins, the audience receives a striking image of Rose that mirrors one much earlier in the film. Both shots equally represent Rose choosing to make it count by choosing a life of freedom and authenticity. The endowment of her promise to herself and to Jack is complete, visually, and musically.
The song and film take us to the wreck where we find the grand staircase as it was in 1912. A gleaming Jack welcomes a beaming Rose to an eternal embrace that is lauded in an impervious, and transcendent ship. This embrace parallels her choice earlier in the film to choose Jack, to be with Jack, even when it meant her own fate would be uncertain. Even in the face of death.
So it is only fitting the film and score tie these visual and melodic moments together.
Rose’s proclamation of her love for Jack solidified at the grand staircase symbolizes her commitment to continuously choose life and to continuously choose love.
And if that doesn’t make you love this score more, I don’t know what will.
Music in Film: Titanic (1997) dir. James Camerson
– soundtrack, including original score by James Horner
I was listening to one of my many versions of MHWGO this evening when I had an idea to post one version per day for the month of February. I realized I only have about 24 versions. I also didn’t feel like waiting for February…January has been long as fuck. Alas….
It’s been a very long time since I gave this cover a listen; it’s beautiful. Having additional Titanic-themed music that wasn’t in the film always makes me imagine Jack and Rose outside of the context of the film. This version of MHWGO is so soft and intimate. The guitar evokes foreign land, somewhere far away, somewhere peaceful where their worries would wash away.
Jack and Rose living happily post Titanic, traveling the world, walking hand and hand along a beach as the sun sets. Jack comes up behind Rose placing his arms around her waist and his head upon her shoulder. The waves tumble and crash on the shore in the foreground of a painted-pink sky. Sun beams bounce off their kissing cheeks. The horizon stares them right in the face, as if no time has passed. Their dreams as present as ever.
I cut this song from the newly released album. This sample includes trailer music, as well as never before released music played when Rose is rescuing Jack. I’m a bit obsessed with the ‘love theme’ in this. Long live Jack & Rose.
At long last.
This is the version that was used in the film. It was Horner’s “sketch” of the love theme that he sent to Cameron. Cameron received it and thought it was what he had produced for the drawing scene. It fit the scene perfectly. Horner insisted it had mistakes, and Cameron insisted its imperfections was why it worked.
I’m blown away by how beautiful the bridge is as well as the fact that after twenty years we finally get all of this music.
THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF THE SCORE WAS RELEASED TODAY, INCLUDING NEVER BEFORE RELEASED SCORE MUSIC!
ONLY 5,000 COPIES ARE AVAILABLE AS ITS A LIMITED RELEASE.
Can be purchased at: La La Land Record’s Site
I ordered my copy the second it was released today, and thankfully I don’t have to wait for it to ship to hear some of these long awaited gems.
Take a listen to one of my favorite musical cues from the film that I always referred to as the “Dawson, Rose, Dawson,” piece.
As far as I know, this is the original version of My Heart Will Go On that was sent to Cameron.
It’s clearly not the radio edit or even end credit version we all know so well. The most notable difference is the orchestral bridge.
Most people assume that if you love “Titanic,” you also love this song. For me, I always resisted this song because of the natural groveling people do when its mentioned or played. And in a very short time it went from being a record-breaking, power-ballad to one of the most hated songs in pop culture.
Even today, I will choose many other Celine songs over this one. And I prefer The Portrait and Rose to MHWGO as well. It wasn’t until last Christmas that I really reflected upon the lyrics and realized that this song is about resiliency. Amidst the extreme love and hate for it, I completely missed the meaning of not only the lyrics themselves, but the title.
And so, regardless of what the song means to the rest of the world, I do hold a dear spot for it in my heart because in a way, its really an extra gift of an epilogue speaking to Rose’s struggle post Jack’s death.
Most of us have gone through devastating losses, maybe none compare to the sinking of the Titanic. Nevertheless, when I struggle to cope with my own losses I think about resiliency. And this song was a gift from lyricist, Will Jennings who added even more depth and color to Rose’s journey beyond her time spent with Jack, and the impact his life had on hers. And it reminds me that in tough times, we have a choice to be resilient, despite how painful the hurt is. And it reminds us with loss, there is also beauty, and hope, and growth.