We all know the ending of Titanic: 100-year-old Rose half-chuckles as she throws the priceless diamond off the edge of the ship. It’s meaningful and perfect to some, and extremely, maddeningly frustrating to others. I mean, come on. This entire salvage expedition hinged on the search for the Heart of the Ocean, and Rose not only had it the entire time, but let it sink into oblivion and never told anyone about it.
In the film’s actual ending, Rose throws the diamond into the ocean, returns to her room, and dies peacefully in her sleep. The camera pans across photographs from her days piloting a small plane, acting, and horseback riding (Western style!): all snapshots from the full life that Jack wanted her to live. Then—cue the uncontrollable tears—we watch the epic transformation of the dark ruins into the vibrant vision that was the ship before disaster, where all the passengers greet young Rose as she reunites with Jack.
In the alternate ending, however, Rose’s granddaughter and the salvage expedition leader Mr. Lovett catch Rose just as she’s about to throw the diamond into the ocean, and shit just goes completely off the rails. You truly need to see this to believe it.
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Lovett tries to reason with Rose, but she says she came to their ship to put the diamond “back where it belongs.” She lets Lovett hold the diamond, and tells him, “You look for treasure in the wrong place, Mr. Lovett. Only life is priceless, and making each day count.”
Then she slips it out of his hand and hurls it into the ocean as Lovett and his two crew members freak out. One of them just straight-up yells, “That really sucks, lady!” Lovett looks at his hand and laughs semi-maniacally, then asks Rose’s granddaughter if she’d like to dance.
All I can say is… let’s all be thankful that James Cameron changed his mind about this unhinged, after school special-vibes ending that might have ruined an otherwise brilliant, touching, timeless film.
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