A Romance film is one where the plot is centered on love or generally a romantic
attraction between two or more characters in the movie. The storyline is then built around this
attraction which usually stems from either love at first sight, forbidden love, passion and other
factors not limited to the mentioned. The aim of these romance films is to evoke deep emotion
in the audience, using either happy or tragic endings(Wikipedia).
Romance movies are also classified under different sub-genres, namely;
Romantic comedies-these movies aim to evoke strong emotion in the audience through
love and humor. Most of these have a happy ending, where true love triumphs over
Romantic dramas-this subgenre explores the more complex side of love that makes it
almost impossible for the people involved to stay in love. Often these end with the two
people separated, unable to overcome their boundaries.
Musical Romance-these usually love stories narrated mainly using song.
Titanic is an example of a Movie under the romance genre, more specifically romantic drama.
It all begins when a treasure hunter and his crew search the wreck of the RMS Titanic,
looking for a necklace with a rare diamond known as “the Heart of the Ocean”. Instead they
found a chest with a drawing dated April 14 1912, of a naked woman, wearing only the
necklace(Lord,2012). That was the date the ship struck an iceberg. Rose Dawson Calvert
claimed to be the woman in the picture, and visited the treasure hunter to tell her experience.
She boarded the supposedly unsinkable ship known as Rose DeWitt Bukater, with her
mother Ruth and Fiancé Carl as first class passengers. Jack Dawson, a poor drifter artist, won
his ticket in a betting game as a 3 rd class passenger. Rose’s marriage to Carl was of necessity
AN ANALYSIS OF ROMANTIC FILMS AS A GENRE 3
in order to resolve their family’s financial problems. Rose was depressed about the
engagement and decided to end her life instead. Jack finds her and rescues her from jumping
off the stern. Carl discovers them together and Rose convinces him that he rescued her from
sliding off the ship and that he deserved to be rewarded. Jack is therefore invited to dine with
them at the first class table, an experience utterly new to him. Later, Rose secretly joins Jack
for a party on the third class deck and they get closer. However, Ruth and Carl disapprove
their friendship and Rose has to ignore Jack’s advances. She clearly however prefers Jack to
her fiancé and they have a very intimate encounter on the ship at sunset. Later, Rose takes
Jack to her room where she shows him her engagement present, the heart of the ocean, and
asks him to draw her nude, wearing only the necklace. Carl finds out about their escapades
and has Jack locked up after framing him for theft of the necklace. Soon after, the Titanic hits
an iceberg. Rose must find and save jack while trying to escape from an infuriated Carl. Rose
rescues Jack and they try to get on a lifeboat to escape the sinking ship. Carl however chases
them back into a flooding ship with his butler’s pistol. After running out of ammunition he
gives up and gets himself on a life boat. After several attempts, Jack and Rose get back to the
ship’s deck, but all the life boats have gone and passengers still on board are falling to their
death from the sinking ship. The ship splits in half and Jack and rose find themselves in the
ocean. Jack helps Rose on to a small wooden raft which he holds on to while in the water.
Jack eventually dies due to hypothermia (Lord, 2012). Rose survives and is rescued and taken
to New York, all the while hiding from Carl. There she changes her name to Rose Dawson.
Later she learnt that Carl lost everything in the 1929 Wall Street crash and committed suicide
The tre asure hunt ends after they heard Rose’s story. While alone, Rose throws the
necklace which she had in her possession all the while back into the ocean. And sleeps,
depicting her full life filled with freedom and adventure, inspired by Jack.
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The setting of the movie was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, aboard the
seemingly unsinkable ship. Lighting greatly impacts ones understanding of a film by creating
atmosphere of the scenes in the movie. The lighting used while making the film during the
day were bright and reflective to depict sunrays, while at night the light was dim but also
bright enough for the audience to clearly see the actors. There was also adequate lighting for
the main actors even when they were running around the deck. The camera is also held at
different angles to amplify moments in the scenes.
The makeup and costumes in this particular movie depict a period in a past era and
used to differentiate people depending on their socio-economic class. The first class was
characterized by Vintage Victorian gowns, Tuxedos, bow ties and top hats. For those in the
third class, men were in britches and shirts and women in skirts, boots and blouses. Those in
second class had a variety, but couldn’t help but dream of being in the first class.
The music and sounds in a movie are meant to captivate, create suspense and keep the
audience interested in the movie. The music was also used to sadness during sad scenes and
even lust during the intimate ones. Being a movie typically on a ship, sounds that filled it
were generally natural for instance calm waves, sea birds, noises of sea animals, wind
blowing, people chatting and rushing waves and harsh waters during the ship’s sinking. These
make the movie seem more real to its audience.
The film is typical of its genre. This is in that it has two main characters that fall in
love, defying all odds of class and social standing. They go against everything to try and make
their love work (Todd, 2013). It however ends in tragedy when one of them dies. The movie
evokes a lot of emotion from the viewer to a point of tears, at all the love, found and tragically
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Grant, B. (2007). Film genre : from iconography to ideology. London New York: Wallflower.
Lord, W. (2012). A night to remember. New York: Open Road Integrated Media
Todd, E. (2013). Passionate love and popular cinema : romance and film genre. Basingstoke: