By Al Menconi, President/Founder of Al Menconi Ministries
June 1998 – It’s hard to imagine that there’s anyone who hasn’t seen the blockbuster hit movie Titanic by now. It’s taken in more than a billion dollars in ticket sales worldwide, and has become the highest grossing movie of all time! It won 11 Oscars at the Academy Awards last month and it’s been heralded as the great love story for our time, but is it? Let’s look at this popular film from another perspective and see what it’s really saying about love.
The story focuses on a despondent young woman named Rose (Kate Winslet). After her father’s death, her mother secured their financial future by engaging her to a wealthy, but abusive, young man (Billy Zane). In despair, she attempts to commit suicide, but a handsome young artist named Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) keeps her from jumping. This is the beginning of an impetuous affair. The next evening they spend a night of drinking and dancing with the passengers in steerage. Although raised as a prim and proper young lady, the next day she posed nude for her budding young artist. Later they have sex in the back seat of a car in the hull of the ship. When the Titanic hits an iceberg and begins to sink, they search desperately for one another amidst the disaster and chaos.
It’s easy to see why the movie has such a strong appeal. A despicable villain, powerful special effects, and swells of romantic music make it easy to root for the attractive young couple. Against all odds, in the midst of disastrous circumstances, they manage to find and rescue one another, both literally and metaphorically. And who wouldn’t want a love like that? Well, let’s take a closer look.
This upper-class woman went from the depths of depression and attempting suicide to joyously dancing and drinking the night away with the lower class in steerage within 24 hours. In counseling circles, going from the depths of depression to the heights of euphoria in such a short period is usually considered manic depressive behavior. Whatever we call her condition, she was in a very fragile state and was extremely vulnerable to someone willing to take advantage of her. Along comes a cute young man with a smooth line and begins a tragic relationship. While fully aware of her fragile condition, he proceeds to lead her into a promiscuous night of drinking and eventually to sex. Outside the context of the movie, we would call this guy a predator, or at best a cad. Yet in the movie, this young man is hailed a hero and even the romantic lead for generation X.
We need to understand that what he did to this girl is not romance. At best, it is emotional rape. Even in my most depraved college days in an “animal house” fraternity – before I accepted Christ as my Savior, mind you – there was an unwritten rule that you didn’t take advantage of a “fragile” girl. Back then we didn’t have many moral values or things we wouldn’t do, but no one would seduce a girl who was fragile. It just wasn’t done! But now we are being sold that this is romance! Don’t buy it! This isn’t love. Taking advantage of someone in a fragile mental state isn’t love, it’s abuse!
Reprinted by permission of Al Menconi Ministries. Al is president and founder of Al Menconi Ministries and is a recognized authority on popular music and the media for today’s Christian family. For more information, please write to Al Menconi Ministries, P.O. Box 5008, San Marcos, CA 92069-1050 or call 1-800-78-MUSIC.