Rose doesn't die at the end, and the final scene is a dream, not the afterlife
She mentions at some point that Jack "exists only in her memories", and this could perhaps be a reference to that statement, with him being in her dream. Also, since Cal committed suicide due to the stock market crash and did not die on the Titanic, it wouldn't make much sense for him to spend his afterlife there, having a good time with everyone else, especially considering all the horrible things he did on that ship.
- Perhaps Jack Dawson is actually Cobb from Inception. Maybe he entered Rose's mind and created all of the false memories of Jack Dawson, as well as the dream at the end.
- Alternatively, the whole movie is a dream: This is Cobb's first attempt at Inception. He got into Rose's dream, in which she is a woman who survived the Titanic. As the scientists ask her questions, Cobb goes down one dream level and introduces himself as Jack Dawson to a visually young version of her. He successfully gets out of Rose's dream. Unfortunately, since this is his first attempt, he was not sure how to get Rose out of the dream. When she died in her sleep on the first dream level, she went into limbo, forever trapped in a dream in which she is still with Jack Dawson on the Titanic.
Rose's father was just like Cal, personality-wise
It is heavily implied that Rose wants to break out of her upper class lifstyle in general, not just to get away from Cal. One of the reasons for this is that Rose's own father was also controlling, domineering and abusive and to go from being treated so badly by him to being treated the same way by Cal is the proverbial straw that's broken the camel's back. And like Cal, the elder Dewitt Bukater committed suicide when he went into debt and lost money. Jack is clearly different from anyone else Rose has ever known in terms of his passion and free-spiritedness which is precisely why she finds him so attractive.
Cal actually committed suicide because he realized Rose had survived Titanic
Rose tells Lizzie and the others that Cal commited suicide in 1929 shortly after the stock market crash. Rose had worked as an actress during the 1920s before starting a family, according to Lewis. Cal really shot himself because he saw one of Rose's films, or plays (we don't know if she was a film or theatre actress), realized that she actually survived the Titanic disaster after all and was so shattered by the fact that she was apparently living a happy life without him that he couldn't live with himself.
No previous records about him? Check. Anachronistic attitude and haircut? Check. Interested in things that weren't popular then? Check. Lived his childhood next to a man-made lake in Wisconsin that wouldn't be built for another three years
? Check. Evidently, Jack was a time-traveler from The Future
that ended somehow in 1912 Europe and was making his way back to America where presumably his time machine had been left.
Why didn't he know the Titanic would sink? Because it didn't in the original timeline. He and Rose caused the disaster
when they distracted the lookouts with their night kiss by the bow.
- Building on this, we can conclude that the entire sinking was the result of the universe attempting to correct a temporal paradox.
- Killing over 1500 people to correct a temporal paradox? The Universe is a bitch!
- Better than killing well over a billion humans, uncounted numbers of animals, plants, and other living things, and destroying everything in existence. And Jack is Jack Harkness with Magic Plastic Surgery. Someone stopped the original cause of the Titanic crashing, so Jack had to distract the lookouts somehow. He doesn't drown (permanently) and Rose is now unkillable (but aging).
- Jack also commented on the Santa Monica Pier, which did exist in 1912 but wasn't yet the attraction it became a few years later. This is just another example of Jack forgetting that he was in an earlier time.
- In the movie, the Titanic sank because of Jack and Rose distracted the watchmen... Stable Time Loop? He was supposed to stop the ship from sinking, but Rose kisses him and he misses his moment.
- Not quite this idea but close enough.
Jack was sent back in time with the express purpose of saving Rose
In the year 2035, humanity has been ravaged by a genetically engineered disease
. Scientists have access to a time machine, but having failed to stop the bioterrorist(s) that first started it they go for the Plan B: Ensuring that the female offspring of the only inmune individual, a woman known as Ruth deWitt Bukater that died in the 1930s, live to see the modern day. Young convict Jack Dawson volunteers to the mission of travelling back to 1912, stop Ruth's daughter Rose from committing suicide from jumping off the Titanic two days before the sinking, make sure that she boards a lifeboat during the sinking and, just to be sure, to seduce and impregnate her. Jack will secure his own survival by clinging to the poop rail as the ship goes down and boarding a piece of floating wood that central control knows will pop out after the ship goes down.
Unfortunately, Rose has an idiot moment and decides to go back on board as the ship goes down. Jack has then to craft a new plan and give her his spot on the floating wood, sacrificing himself for her and the Future of mankind. Although he might have failed to impregnate her, his action and his speech to encourage her to have a long life and lots of grandsons was successful: her immune offspring reached the late '90s, and so a cure could be created and humanity was saved.
- Jack does tell Rose that he is "a survivor" when he was trying to get her in a boat. Maybe he meant that he knew that if she went into the boat he would survive? This would back up this theory as it would make perfect sense. He already knew he would be a survivor.
- Alternatively, Rose is the Grandmother of Sarah Connor and Jack was sent back in time to ensure that she didn't kill herself.
- Jack is actually the angel Castiel sent back in time to fix Balthazar's meddling in Supernatural. How's that for a Stable Time Loop Mind Screw?
The guy from the search crew is right and Rose is lying.
Rose Dewitt Bukater actually did go down with the ship, and Jack Dawson never existed, hence the story of the card game. Rose Dawson Calvert, a failed actress, had always been interested in the Titanic. Realizing that she was a dead ringer for the girl who died on the ship, she stole a name that would suit her and made up an elaborate story for how she came into possession of the necklace (which is actually a clever fake) for one last attempt at fame and fortune. Eventually she decided that her fake necklace would never pass for the Heart of the Ocean under close inspection and threw it away. That night, she had a dream about the Titanic and imagined what it would be like to be the deceased Rose Dewitt Bukater in heaven with Jack forever. In actuality, Jack was a figment of her imagination, and the real Rose died for unknown reasons.
- This could also explain why Jack talks about places that don't exist until after the sinking of the Titanic, she could have made an oversight when creating Jack's back story.
- How did she know about the Hockley family?
- Maybe she did her research? She probably knew that if she were to be taken seriously she would have to have some sort of idea what she was talking about, so it would make sense that she looked into the history of Rose, her family and the Cœur de la Mer.
- It wouldn't have been difficult, if Rose and Cal's upcoming marriage was indeed a large event that included all the members of Philadelphia society, then a fraud would be able to find a lot information about the Hockleys.
- As much as I hate to admit it, this makes a lot of sense.
It doesn't seem likely that a 1912 socialite would agree to be drawn like that.
Jack doesn't die at the end...
He becomes Aquaman
Or because he slowed down his biological processes using trick he had learned while studying with Tibetan Monks.
Counting this in addiction with the guesses above that he was a time-traveler, when he slipped into the water, he traveled to another time because he set his time-machine to send him back when he completely submerged and unconscious.
OR, he survived and kept and the Heart of the Ocean to make enough money to build his own fortune for ten years, and finding another woman who also has a flower for a name, to become Jay Gatsby, who has a notable fear of swimming pools
Rose was a self-serving sociopath...
She meets Jack and suddenly doesn't care about Cal any more and doesn't care that this affects her own mother. Later, when she's floating on the hunk of wood, she doesn't even bother to let Jack share the wood with her. Instead, she makes him float in the freezing water. They exchange words about never letting go, but she only hangs on for a few minutes before letting him sink into the ocean without even checking his pulse. Finally, in the end, she drops that necklace into the water when she could have given it to any number of deserving people, including her daughter.
- Rose agreed to be engaged to Cal but didn't care about him. She was marrying him for his money, which is pretty self-serving — though you have to be unusually audacious to consider the alternatives. Her mom basically tells her to grin and bear it — her mom needs the money, too. Throwing the necklace into the ocean satisfies the life-long need to let go; but couldn't she "let go" in another way, even taking it to a pawn shop and saying "I'm letting go of the past..." like normal people do?
- That necklace was presumed lost in the wreck. She had it all the time. She knew it was wanted. She talked the guy who was hunting for it out of hunting for it, and then she dropped it into the wreck. It's like if someone had hidden a genuine original Picasso in the attic, which we only know existed because we have a photograph from before it was hidden, and the person decides to destroy the painting rather than let it be auctioned off after death... She may have the right, and he was a treasurehunter, but it's inconsiderate.
- And at the end, when she dies, she is back with Jack and all the people from the Titanic, who she could only have known for like a week. What, did she care more about a guy she knew for a week than her husband with whom she had children and grand-children?!? Yes, he did change her life forever, but still...
- That only looks like heaven.
- Think about it: the events happening in the past are Rose's story, right? It's not what really happened, it's what Rose tells the Brock's crew happened. Makes sense she'd potray herself and her lover as near saints and her ex-fiance as a complete asshole: the easiest way to justify your adultery is to cast the cheated party as a jerk who deserved it.
- Look at old Rose's photographs at the end. They're not photos of her husband, children and grandchildren; they're all pictures of her. Rose travels with pictures of Rose.
The famous pair of boots found by the Titanic's wreck belonged to Jack.
Do a Google Image Search for "Titanic Boots". There's a famous photo of a pair of boots right next to each other that seem to resemble the pair that Jack wore in the film.
- Might have been intentional on James Cameron's part?
Rose does die in the end, and goes down and meets everyone as per the end of the movie. Then it turns out that all those souls can't "move on" and are trapped on the wreck, needing to be Rescued from Purgatory
- They're all clapping because Rose is one of the things they need to free themselves.
- Or maybe they're free when Rose arrives?
- Or maybe the kiss between the two lost lovers freed them? Which is why they didn't clapped when Rose arrived, but rather when the two of them (Jack and Rose) kissed?
- The alternative (that this is the afterlife FOREVER and the Titanic is their heaven, which begs the question why Cal is clearly visible in the background) certainly sucks, especially if you were one of the crew ("Yay, I get to open doors and 'yes-sir-yes-ma'am' to self-serving jackasses forever for the sin of having been a crew member on the Titanic!")
- That could of course be Cal's punishment(he certainly doesn't look happy). Plus the "crew members" likely wouldn't have to do anything they found drudging in Titanic-heaven, only good stuff. More likely they'd all move on to where they wanted to go, or BE the upper class, or partiers, or whathaveyou....
Rose got pregnant with Jack's baby.
Her granddaughter has inherited Jack's blond hair.
- A nice idea, but near the end Rose tells her granddaughter that she never mentioned Jack to anyone, "even your grandfather". Rose married after the crash and never spoke of her lover again, which would be hard if she had the guy's kid to look after. Then again, most of what she's having to do after the Titanic sinks will be hard, seeing as she just rejected her social class outright by faking her death.
- Unless she had her first child before she met her husband. He probebly would asked about her first childs father but Rose might not want to have to talk about it.
- And if you think about it, she has the best excuse in the world-she just says she and her child's father were on the Titanic, she made it, he didn't, the memory's too traumatic for details. There's "Rose Dawson" right there on the third-class survivor list to back up her story, her husband never has any reason to question it.
Mrs Pennyworth is...
The bullet the Master-At-Arms is seen rolling down the table is his totem
He's hoping against hope that he's just stuck in a dream
- Operating on the theory that Inception pics up where Titanic left off (Jack downs in ocean, wakes up on beach in Limbo) This sinking of the Titanic very well could be a dream, which explains how Jack grew up at a lake that didn't exist when the Titanic sails
- Dom had performed an extraction on Rose at some point before 1997, in order to experience a first-hand account of the sinking for some historian and to try to fill in a few of the blanks. This helps explain why there are scenes that Rose was not present for. As Lovejoy, he was Dom's partner, but then betrayed him and just wanted to know where the diamond was. His totem bullet was weighted so that in the real world, it would actually tumble and not fall evenly on a tilted surface.
The Heart Of The Ocean has the power to grant wishes
Aboard the research vessel, Rose learns from Brock Lovett that part of Le Cœur de la Mer
's elaborate, mysterious history involves a legend that it will grant the wish of the person who returns it to the ocean. Rose ultimately does, and wishes to be reunited and restored with Jack and all the voyagers in the unsunk Titanic, to all exist happily ever after.
Lovett's backers were aware of the above, and wanted it for its magical power rather than its monetary value
"Everybody who knows about the diamond is SUPPOSED to be dead... or on this ship". That emphasis is a bit sinister, don't you think? The expedition was funded by a Nebulous Evil Organization
planning to use the diamond for its own villainous purposes. (For crossover-y fun, imagine they were the evil organization from your favorite period-appropriate work.)
Rose is a time traveller
This troper is basing her theory off of the fact that Rose and Jack directly cause the sinking of the Titanic by distracting the iceberg lookouts. There is a moment in the movie where Rose is at afternoon tea and she looks at a little girl folding a napkin daintily, and right afterwards she seeks out Jack, and they have their famous kiss on the bow of the ship. What the movie DOESN'T show is that when Rose looks at the little girl folding the napkin, she is actually resigned to a life with Cal. She never speaks to Jack again, loses track of him, the ship doesn't sink, and lives her life as a very wealthy but unhappy woman. Because many important and wealthy investors in steam technology survived the maiden voyage of the Titanic, steam technology booms and eventually, many decades later, some kind of time rewinding technology is discovered. When she is much, much older, Rose realizes her mistake in letting Jack go (heh), and so she uses this technology to rewind time back to the pivotal moment where she watches the girl fold a napkin and chooses Cal (though she retains her memories of her future life so that she can choose correctly this time). This time, she finds Jack and tells him she's changed her mind. Unfortunately, her giddy and blissful romance with Jack doesn't last long, because after they make love, they distract the iceberg lookouts, thus causing the sinking of the Titanic. Jack doesn't survive, of course, but neither do the investors in steam technology, so the time-rewinding technology never develops, and she is forced to live another 80+ years without him, making the movie doubly tragic.
Jack is a Terminator.
His mission was to protect Rose from her Fiance. He fell in love with her, and the frozen waters that killed him merely short circuited him.
1. There has been no record of his name in any of the logs.
2. His sinking in the water Mirrors, The T800 sinking in the lava.
3. Rose hit his hand with an Axe and it didn't cut him.
4. It's James Cameron
She hangs out with both the ship's designer and the Titanic's most famous survivor. The characters are all thoroughly one-note - especially her fiance, who briefly turns into a murderous psychopath. Rose displays astonishing foresight - for example, she's familiar with Freud and appreciates Picasso. Everything makes more sense if she's telling the audience a historical fanfic.