Titanic (1997, James Cameron)

What is at stake?
There are various things at stake in the movie Titanic. Rose’s (Kate Winslet) family could lose their reputation, Rose marrying into a wealthy family and living a comfortable life and losing her true love (Jack) in the sinking of the Titanic along with her own life. The various decisions that Rose makes throughout the movie puts these situations at stake for her.

 

Who is the central character? Why? Describe this character’s personal journey. How has the character transformed?
Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) is the central character of Titanic because we see her transform from a woman in a proper wealthy family turn to rebel, and choose to interact with ruffians and live life on the wild side, so to speak. Rose’s story is about freedom and love, and finding that living a full life does not mean you have to have money to do so. Rose begins her journey boarding the Titanic with her family living the life of luxury. Rose hates the life that has been chosen for her so she decides to end it by jumping off the back of the ship and then the meet cute (when Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose meet for the first time). As the film progresses Rose spends more time with Jack and finding that fortune and being comfortable does not lead to a fulfilling life. Throughout the film Rose falls in love with Jack which stands against everything her family wants for her.  When the ship sinks she is told to leave with her family but decides to she would rather die with someone she loves than live wondering what could have been. By the end of the story Rose feels that she has freed herself from the entrapment her family and wealth tied her down to, and she appreciated life so much more. Because of Jack Rose learned to that leading a rich life does not mean you need money but experiences that make her journey worth living for.

 

What good reason does the character have not to act?
Rose could have lived comfortably with wealth and family, but it would have been a dull life for someone with so much livelihood. Had she not acted she would have never experienced true love and learned how fulfilling life experiences can be.

 

Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz)

What is at stake?
As in all films there is something at stake, and in Casablanca it is freedom and love. Rick (Humphrey Bogart) risks his freedom everyday by helping people get their transit papers to get to the United States and out of harms way. He also risked falling in love in Paris and almost risked it again in Casablanca. Rick says that he would stick his neck out for no one but in reality he can’t help but be selfless and help those when he knows he can, especially those that have a love that he lost (twice).

 

Who is the central character? Why? Describe this character’s personal journey. How has the character transformed?
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is the central character that loses his love (Ilsa) and regains that love when Ilsa walks back into his life at the least expected moment. Rick is the central character because we see him transform into a man with a hard shell to one that is actually soft, caring and selfless. Rick starts his journey in Paris where he finds Ilsa and falls head over heels for her. Rick is a wanted man so he and Ilsa decide to leave Paris but Ilsa never shows up to board the train. Rick loses the love of his life and is left with no explanation and an empty heart. He then ends up in Casablanca the retreat for all those wishing to be flown to the United States to get away from the war. Rick starts a new life in Casablanca and is content with being a bar owner with no love in his life. Rick starts out as a happy man with everything he wants in his life but turns into a bitter man that lives a life of solitude and anger. Rick is a softhearted man with a cold, hard shell. Once Rick realizes that his love is so close but so far away that he does the right thing and lets her go to live the life she deserves, not running all the time. Rick becomes a man that understands and has great respect for love.

 

What good reason does the character have not to act?
Rick has good reason to take the plane to the United States instead of Ilsa’s husband (Victor Lazlo), so he can life a long life of love with Ilsa. Instead his selflessness overcomes him and allows Ilsa to live the life that she chose. As many say “it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”

 

 

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, Frank Capra)

What is at stake?
George risks his life of travel and life experiences when he stays behind to take over the family business. Georges never goes to college, Europe or New York instead he stays in the town of Bedford Falls where he dislikes his job and feels like he is a failure. George’s life is at stake, as well as those in the town of Bedford Falls when he wishes he were never born.

 

Who is the central character? Why? Describe this character’s personal journey. How has the character transformed?
George Bailey is the central character in this film because he has transformed from a man that hates his life, loves his life, then takes his life for granted, but is saved by his guardian angel, Clarence. George’s journey starts from a young age in being a big part in several people’s lives in saving them from disaster. He first saves his brother, then his boss, then the town from an unhappy future in “Potterville (Bedford Falls).” George is thrown into his father’s position after he has a stroke and can work no longer. This is a big disappointment for George because he wanted a life of travel and life experiences after college. George didn’t even get to go to college and his brother got to live the life he dreamed of. George then finds his love and marries and has four children. While everything comes together at home, everything falls apart at work causing great stress to George and causes him to almost take his life. George takes for granted the good in his life and dwells on the bad things until his guardian angel shows up to save him from himself. George learns that he is a big part in everyone’s lives in the whole town, and that he took for granted his family, friends, and the experiences that he had (even though they weren’t in the picture that he painted for himself). George has transformed from a little bit bitter and envious man into a loving, living, and motivating man that his brother calls the richest man in town. Of course he means that George is rich because he has lots of people that care deeply for him and are willing to raise $8,000 to save his business because of all the good he has done for the people in his town. This transformation happens only because he was prayed for and heard by angels that he desperately needed help. It happens in a night that George went from feeling like the loneliest, poorest man in Bedford Falls to the richest and most loved.

 

What good reason does the character have not to act?
George has good reason not to take over the family business. He was going to get his education, travel, and live a very extravagate life. Instead he decided that family is first and that he needed to do the right thing and take over the family business and not let Potter take over the town. George gave up his painted picture of a life full of experiences outside of Bedford Falls to save the people in his town from the monarchy of Potter.

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