Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says Iffy for 12+
Great movie, but not appropriate for all kids.
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 PG-13 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.
- 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).
The good stuff
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.
Positive role models: 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.
What to watch for
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.
Sexy stuff: 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: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and 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.