Titanic

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Titanic Movie Poster Image
Great movie, but too intense, racy for younger kids.
  • PG-13
  • 1997
  • 194 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 73 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 437 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Early 20th-century class issues are at the heart of the conflict between Jack and Rose's whirlwind relationship. High-society folks didn't socialize with those beneath their status at the time, but Jack and Rose fall in love despite those societal trappings, proving that a person's worth is far greater than the station they were born into. Both of them overcome numerous obstacles to be together. The idea that first-class passengers' lives are somehow more important than lesser-class passengers is exposed as disgusting. Themes include compassion and humility.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jack and Rose transcend societal expectations and fall in love with each other, acting bravely to help save themselves and others. The "Haves" for the most part -- excepting Molly Brown, the Captain, and the ship architect -- aren't the most admirable lot. Many people onboard act selfishly, like Cal, who pretends a small child is his to get a spot on a lifeboat, or the shipworker who refuses to allow his half-filled lifeboat to return to save more people.

Violence

Extremely intense action, especially as the Titanic begins to sink. There's mass chaos that leads to fist fights, pushing, gun violence, and even suicide. People plunge to their deaths in icy waters, some of them being killed by falling debris from the ship. Almost everyone left in the water drowns, and there are close-ups of some passengers who choose to never even attempt to leave the ship, preferring to await the inevitable in their rooms or lounges.

Sex

One scene of a topless woman as she poses for a painting, plus shots of that painting, as well as a few other nude drawings. Jack and Rose flirt, kiss passionately, and eventually make love. The love scene doesn't include any nudity, but the couple is sweaty, out-of-breath, bare-shouldered, and on top of each other.

Language

The most commonly used swear is "s--t," which is repeated several times throughout the movie. Other strong language includes one "f--k," "son of a bitch," "damn," "hell," "ass," "bloody," and several "goddamns" "oh my Gods," and other exclamations, especially toward the end. Insulting taunts include "slut," "whore," and "moron."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The first-class passengers drink wine and champagne with dinner, and the men leave to smoke cigars and drink brandy after dinner (accurate for the time period); the steerage passengers get drunk at a late-night party where beer is plentiful. Jack smokes cigarettes in a few scenes. Rose tries to smoke a cigarette, but her fiance stops her; later she does smoke one.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that James Cameron's King-of-the-World saga Titanic is one of the highest-grossing movies of all time and is still sure to attract young teen and tween audiences. There's brief nudity (a topless Rose poses for a nude drawing) and sexuality (Jack and Rose make love in the backseat of a car), but the forbidden romance between the main characters (played by Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio) is otherwise rather chaste by today's standards. It's the epic Titanic sinking scene that may make this movie too intense for younger kids. Throughout the mass chaos, people are fighting, shooting at each other, plunging to their watery deaths, and in some cases, even committing suicide. The fact that this is based on a historical event may be too intense for sensitive children, but mature kids fascinated with the Titanic will find it compelling to watch.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6, 8, and 10 year old Written byteamworkfun September 14, 2009

Love it.

As a parent, I would never let my kids near this movie, but It's a great movie for me. The scene where Rose poses for Jack, and the implied sex is way too... Continue reading
Adult Written byjustkylermat August 18, 2009
This has been my favorite movie since I was a young child. It is very emotional and is for mature children. This is a great movie for mature tweens and teens, a... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 17, 2011

AMAZING!!!!

You have to realize, this is one of the best movies ever made. I Personally think that this movie is fine for 12+ it has mild kissing and it does have a topless... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybibliophile February 17, 2009

Beautiful

This movie was absolutely wonderful (and I didn't cry). The acting is amazing, and the cinematography the best I've ever seen. There is INAPPROPRIAT... Continue reading

What's the story?

Director James Cameron frames the story of the TITANIC in the late 1990s, when a high-tech underwater mission uncovers hidden treasures from the legendary ship, including a nude drawing of a beautiful girl. A nearly 100-year-old woman (Gloria Stuart) reveals that she's the woman in the drawing, and the audience is then immersed in the events on board the ship from her point of view. She was Rose (Kate Winslet), a lovely young woman engaged to one of the richest men on the ship, the cool and calculating Cal (Billy Zane). Unhappy with her forced engagement, Rose briefly considers launching herself overboard but is saved by the witty, handsome Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), a third-class passenger who won his ticket in a poker game. As the two grow closer, Cal frames Jack for stealing, and the ship hits an iceberg, throwing everyone into a catastrophic, life-and-death situation where relationships are tested and courage is rare.

Is it any good?

One of the highest-grossing movies of all time, this enthralling saga is often considered a guilty pleasure in certain serious movie-lover circles, despite its 11 Oscars. But the universal appeal of Cameron's epic blockbuster is undeniable. There's an irresistible love story starring two of the best actors of their generation; dazzling visual effects that involve the most famous ship disaster of all time; a smug, rich villain so easy to hate that he should be sporting an evil, twirling mustache; a soaring James Horner score coupled with Celine Dion's hokey-but-touching "My Heart Will Go On" theme; and some fine performances by supporting actors like Kathy Bates as the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, Frances Fisher as Rose's snobby mother, Bernard Hill (known best as King Theoden in that other epic, Lord of the Rings) as Captain Smith, Victor Garber as the Titanic architect, and, of course, Oscar-nominated Stuart as the narrator, Old Rose.

As in most of Cameron's movies, the romantic relationship led by a strong central female character is the heart of Titanic, while the action and special effects are what draw in equal numbers of women and men. It's safe to say that many young teenage girls couldn't give a hoot about the Titanic breaking in half, whereas some guys will be counting the minutes until the ship starts to sink. But that's the magic of Titanic -- a young boy can gloss right over the romance and focus on the action, while a teenage girl can concentrate on the swoon-worthy love story, and grown-ups can sit back and enjoy it all -- even if they pretend not to later.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how in the face of catastrophe, people's true characters were revealed by their choices. How do different people on board the Titanic react to the ship sinking? Who were the bravest? Who were the most selfish?

  • Has society's emphasis on class changed since the time period depicted in Titanic? What are other social considerations that divide people nowadays? How does Rose's life after the Titanic pay tribute to her brief love affair with Jack?

  • James Cameron is known for depicting strong, fearless female characters. If you're familiar with his other movies, compare Rose to Ripley (Aliens), Sarah Connor (The Terminator), and Neytiri, Trudy, and Grace (Avatar).

  • How do the characters in Titanic demonstrate compassion and humility? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

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