In April 1912, Rose boarded the luxurious RMS Titanic in Southampton, England, at the age of 17 with her mother and her fiance Caledon, who is simply referred to as Cal by most. Rose, Cal, and Ruth were going to Philidelphia, PA, so Rose and Cal could be married. Rose was, at first, displeased with the ship, saying - "It doesn't look any bigger than the Mauretania." This statement suggests that Rose has been aboard other large ships of the 1912 era. Tired of her repetitive lifestyle and her treatment by people as though she is a helpless child, she attempted to commit suicide on the Titanic by attempting to throw herself off off the stern of the ship. She was stopped, however, by a handsome third-class artist known as Jack Dawson. He convinced her that she should not try and kill herself. On the way back up, she slipped on the railing and, even though Jack saved her, her terrified screams were heard by three of the crew members, who came rushing in an effort to assist her. When Cal caught them sprawled out on the floor together, he attempted to arrest Jack, although Rose saved his life by telling Cal that he rescued her. Cal originally wanted to pay Jack $20 for rescuing Rose, but Rose was displeased. Cal then invited Jack to dinner in the first-class dining area.
Later, Jack showed Rose how to spit "correctly" off of the side of the ship, until the Countess of Rothes, the feisty Molly Brown, and Ruth caught Rose doing this. When Rose left with the other women to go dress for the dinner that night, Molly took Jack under her wing and lent him a tuxedo originally intended for her son. While at dinner, Jack charmed the entire table by telling them stories from his life and his way of life. Before he left, he left a note in Rose's hand saying, "Make it count. Meet me at the clock." Rose met him at a large clock on the ship, where she and Jack danced at a party that several members of the crew and passengers were in. Spicer Lovejoy, Cal's The next day, Rose searched for Jack to thank him for what he did. When she found him on the boat deck, they talked for hours about their personal lives and Rose's hopes and dreams that she knew could not be achieved if she married Cal. When Rose saw Jack's sketchbook, she looked through it and was amazed and shocked to find that a man as poor as he could travel to Paris, France. She also believed that one of the subjects that he had drawn was involved in a love affair with him, which he denied. Full name
manservant, however, had snuck off to spy on Rose and Jack. The following morning, when Rose had breakfast with Cal, Cal said to her that she "didn't come by that evening", implying that their usual habits were to sleep together. When Rose
explained that she was too tired, Cal lectured her for not behaving like most first-class women. Cal then lost his temper and stated that despite the fact that she was not yet his wife by law, she was in practice and had to honor him. In his rage, he overturned their breakfast table and stormed out of the room. After Cal and Rose's maid, Trudy Bolt left to fetch tea, Ruth entered and explained to Rose that it was dangerous for women to hold such a fortune by themselves and that it was important to keep the wealth strong with a man around. On the afternoon of April 14th, Rose was on the deck with Thomas Andrews, the builder of the ship, Cal, and Ruth, when Jack grabbed her and took her into the gymnasium. Although he explained to her that she was not like the rest of her family, she stubbornly returned to Cal's side. Before doing so Jack told her that if she doesn't break from her family, she's going to be miserable for her whole life. Later that day, she thought about what Jack had said and realized that he was right so she went out in search of Jack, finding him at the bow of the ship, where they shared their first kiss as the sun slowly went down.
After, Rose asked that Jack draw her completely nude wearing only the Heart of the Ocean necklace. She removes her clothes completely and in this scene,her breast and her vulva is completely exposed.The next scene exposes her butt as well. When he finished, Rose put her clothes back on and put the sketch in Cal's safe with the necklace and a taunting note. Afterwards, the two were found by Lovejoy and were chased by him. The couple locked him out of the ship's boiler room where they ran to. They then ventured off and found themselves in the backseat of William Carter's new Renault traveling car, which was located in the cargo hold, and made love for the first time.
Cal, meanwhile, had become enraged and chased Rose and Jack through the ship with Spicer Lovejoy's Colt 1911 .45 in an effort to shoot them. He was forced to let them escape when his gun ran out of bullets, however. Rose and Jack, meanwhile, had found a young boy crying and had taken him in an effort to help the child escape, however his father got the wrong impression and took the child. Rose and Jack were thrown into a metal gate after two doors burst, drenching Rose and Jack in their already soaked clothing. Their last hope was a terrified steward, who, in an attempt to open the gate, dropped the keys in the water and fled, however Jack was able to retrieve it. As more damage was done to the ship, the couple was able to get back to the top of the ship as it split into two pieces. Everyone was forced to grab on to something in order to avoid falling down, but they still toppled into the water. Although there was not anything for Jack to get on to survive the freezing water, he insisted that Rose get on top of an old door that was left floating in the water. Jack was slowly dying of hypothermia, though. He promised Rose that as long as she stayed on the door, she would be all right. He also promised that she would die a painless death in her sleep and live a long happy life. Jack died soon afterward. While Rose was not as severely affected by the hypothermia, it was slowly seeping through her. When she saw Jack dead, she was ready to give up, but remembered her promise to Jack and tried to call out to the life boat but was unable to. She had no choice but to let go of Jack's body, telling him that she will fufill her promise to him that she would never let go, and tearfully watched his body sink into the bottom of the Atlantic.
Rose used a nearby whistle to call to the lifeboat nearby to rescue her. Soon after, she was taken to RMS Carpathia, the ship that had come to save the victims of the Titanic. While on it, she saw Cal one last time, but hid her face in a blanket in order to avoid him; she later learned, through the paper, that Cal lost his fortune in the Stock Market Crash of '1929 and shot himself through the mouth with a pistol - something which, though she never admitted, probably pleased her to no end. When the ship entered New York City, a steward asked for Rose's name, and she responded "Rose Dawson", taking on Jack's name despite that fact that they were never wed - though they probably did plan to marry eventually - and possibly to avoid being found by Cal and her mother, Ruth. This caused official records to believe Rose Dewitt Bukater died on the Titanic.
She went on to do everything she promised Jack she would do. She became a successful actress; she rode a horse on the beach in Santa Monica, flew a plane, went ice fishing everything that Jack had inspired her to do. At some point she met and found love again with a man named Calvert and became a wife and mother but never truly forgot Jack, despite never speaking about him to anyone, not even to her husband, children or grandchildren - except Lizzy, who wouldn't know until Rose was 100 years old.
In 1996, 84 years after the sinking, treasure hunters led by the famed Brock Lovett are searching for a rare diamond called the Heart of the Ocean which was rumoured to have gone down with the ship. While exploring the first class rooms, they stumble across a safe, which they later crank open. Inside, they find a nude drawing of a woman wearing the same stone necklace, perfectly preserved. The drawing is dated April 14, 1912. Meanwhile in California, Rose Calvert, a 100 year old Titanic survivor, notices a news special on TV where the drawing Lovett discovered was being showcased. She gets in contact with the explorers claiming to be the woman in the drawing, and arranges a trip out to the Keldysh research vessel to meet them.Upon her arrival, Rose requests to see her drawing. Brock and his team inform Rose that an insurance claim was filed for the Heart of the Ocean after the sinking, thus the diamond was assumed to have sunk with the ship, but Rose does not reveal whether it did or not. She and her granddaughter Lizzie are then shown her own personal artifacts, such as her mirror and hair piece, which were found in her Titanic stateroom, B52. Afterward, she is shown a computerized re-enactment of the ship's sinking and plummetting to the bottom of the ocean, to which she reacts emotionally and stiffly. It is at this point that Rose is requested to share her story. After she draws her reminisence to an end, she does not reveal the diamond's fate to Lovett, Lizzie, or any of the crew members. Instead, she sneaks to the poop deck of the Keldysh and tosses it over into the ocean, finally at peace with her memories of Titanic.
Rose is then shown in bed, laying still. Whether she has passed on or is merely sleeping is unknown. Rose returns to Titanic, either as a spirit or in a dream, seemingly flying down under the sea to the dissheveled, sunken ship. As she makes her way along A-deck, the ship is suddenly rejuvinated to its original splendor as if it never sank. A steward opens a door for her and she approaches the Grand Staircase; all who perished on the ship greet her with smiles and nods. Jack Dawson stands at the top of the staircase by the clock, as if he has been waiting for her, and turns to smile at her and extend his hand as she approaches him. Rose, who we now see has returned to her youthful appearance, joins him and the two engage in a passionate kiss as the passengers applaud.
Rose was very optimistic about her life, despite the first-class life she was being pulled into by Cal and Ruth. Although, she had convinced herself that committing suicide by jumping off of the ship was the only way to escape from her torturous first-class life. She was also polite (most of the time; there were a few incidents in which she refused to be polite), mainly because she was forced to be. She was very smart and well-educated. She was also very passionate. Rose was incredibly brave. She was also an extremely talented actress, a talent no doubt practiced through long years of skilfully pretending to be happy, patient, polite, ladylike - whatever Ruth (or Cal) wanted her to be.
During her elderly life, Rose began to forget certain things. However, she still was the same kind-hearted woman that she used to be. She could hardly walk and was often wheeled around in a wheelchair.
James Cameron had Gloria Stuart hold her breath at the end when she was sleeping, however, he left it up to the audience to decide whether Rose had died or if she was only dreaming when she was reunited with Jack and the rest of the people who perished.
Like Rose, Gloria Stuart also became a centenarian and died some
months after her centennial anniversary.
Although Jack Dawson is assumed to be the main character of the film, Rose has been confirmed to be the main character and protagonist of the film.
Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart both expressed their beliefs that Rose dies at the end of the film.
Rose is the first film character portrayed by two actors, both nominated for an Oscar award. Winslet was nominated as Best Actress and Stuart was nominated as Best Supporting Actress. It is notable that this was repeated for Winslet's and Judy Dench's role(s) in the 2001 film Iris.
To break the ice, Kate Winslet "flashed" Leonardo DiCaprio the day before they filmed the scene where Jack draws a naked Rose.
Winslet had to spend 138 minutes naked and posing during the filming, since Cameron's first drawings were failures.