In the year 2154, you have a better shot of living on a pristine space station if you speak French. At least that’s what I learned when I went to see the movie Elysium last night. When we first see Jodie Foster, as the villainous Secretary Delacourt (yep. as in “of the court”), she is mingling with elite citizens of Elysium in fluent French. Meanwhile, back on earth, Max (Matt Damon) speaks just enough Spanish to let the viewer know that he is a man of the people. This isn’t a movie review, so I won’t go into the numerous problems with the script (like, if you want the miracle health care of the “med-pod 3000″, wouldn’t it be more efficient to just steal one and bring it back to earth rather than jeopardize the lives of little girls in doomed missions to breach the space station? I’m just sayin’.)
Whatever its faults, Elysium gets one thing right: people who speak French are evil.
Can you imagine a dystopian earth where the huddled masses, the lovable gang of outlaws, and the messianic badass speak French? Hollywood can’t.
If you have ambitions to be a supervillain (or even a WASPy power-hungry xenophobe with a refrigerator full of expiring Activia. And who doesn’t?), you really should brush up on your French. Sure, you may end up dead when Matt Damon comes to free the world from your despotic grasp, but as the blood pools around your impeccably tailored suit and your gracefully pursed lips prepare to exhale their final breath, you will admire your reflection in one of the many surrounding chrome surfaces with just a soupçon of a smile. Fond memories of conjugating…Je suis…tu es…il est…elle…and then nothing.