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Movie Review: Marxism Criticism of the ‘Titanic’

      The Titanic was a romantic disaster film that opened nationally in the theatres in December, 1997. Directed by James Cameron, this was the most expensive film ever made. To many of the viewers, this movie was seen as a prime example of capitalistic monetary excess. In just its initial theatre release, the film made more than 1.1 billion US dollars. It went ahead to win eleven Academic Awards. Among these included an award for the Best Picture and Best Director (Ebert, 1998). Despite all these success stories, there’s a lot of irony that surrounds the much hyped commercial success of Titanic. The film fits very perfectly into a revolutionary Marxist paradigm. This paradigm condemns the idea of capitalistic excess and instead advocates for heroism and humanism of the underclass.

      The Titanic was set in the year 1912 and represented the last vestiges of the Victorian class structure. This film, according to Marxism paradigm, comes out as very unambiguous with regard to its statements about class struggle as well as the film’s critique of capitalism. The ship itself was a clear icon of the class struggle. The ship has been stratifies according to social classes. Those in the lower classes have got no way of reaching the upper classes because of the fact that they have been held back with physical realities (Maslin, 1997). This is seen in the movies literary when the ship is sinking and the third-class passengers have been locked in the lower levels of the ship; meanwhile, the first-class and second-class passengers are busy filling the life boats.

Just like the traditional Marxist writings, the Titanic places very little focus on the middle class. The film looks at its worldly microcosm in two classes; the first class and the third class. Marxism overlooks the middles class and similar to this, this movie rarely talks about the...