Selfish one-percenters, honorable blue-collar characters, portraits of excess and decay -- Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" and Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium" are very different movies, but they grapple with the issue of income inequality in some surprisingly similar ways.
"Blue Jasmine," Allen’s drama about a wealthy woman in the midst of a life crisis in contemporary San Francisco, and “Elysium,” Blomkamp’s sci-fi myth about a planet in the midst of a population crisis circa 2154, are both pointed parables about haves and have-nots. From their depictions of class differences to the qualities of their sharply drawn characters, here are some elements both movies share:
An urban auteur with a hardscrabble past
"Blue Jasmine": The 77-year-old Bronx-born grandson of immigrants Woody Allen now lives in New York’s wealthy enclave, the Upper East Side.
"Elysium": The 33-year-old South African child of apartheid Neill Blomkamp now lives in Canada’s wealthy West Coast enclave, Vancouver.
A brittle blond on the verge of losing it all
"Blue Jasmine": In 2013, elegant New York socialite Jasmine, played by Chanel-clad Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, struggles to hold herself together with the help of vodka and pills
"Elysium": In 2154, elegant French politician Secretary Delacort, played by Armani-clad Oscar winner Jodie Foster, struggles to hold her colony together with the help of spaceships and mercenaries.
A hard-working, tattooed working class hero jobbed by the system
"Blue Jasmine": Andrew Dice Clay’s Augie gets taken in by a financial scam thanks to rich jerk Hal (Alec Baldwin).
"Elysium": Matt Damon’s Max gets radiated in an industrial accident thanks to rich jerk John Carlyle (William Fichtner).
Broke, kindhearted single mom in peril
"Blue Jasmine": Jasmine’s sweet brunet sister, grocery clerk Ginger (British actress Sally Hawkins), gets busy with a sketchy dude in a van (Louis C.K.)
"Elysium": Max’s sweet childhood friend, hospital worker Frey (Brazilian actress Alice Braga), gets kidnapped by a sketchy dude in a van (Sharlto Copley)
How the wealthy relax
"Blue Jasmine": Sipping drinks beside crystal blue swimming pools in the Hamptons, popping a Xanax.
"Elysium": Sipping drinks beside crystal blue swimming pools in outer space, popping into a healing Med-Pod 3000.
How the poor get by
"Blue Jasmine": In a cluttered San Francisco walkup, with dignity and a little help from charismatic ethnic guy Chili (Bobby Canavale).
"Elysium": In a trash-strewn Los Angeles barrio, with dignity and a little help from charismatic ethnic guy Julio (Diego Luna).
Sign you’re probably in the 1%
"Blue Jasmine": You find the ending of this movie terrifying and you’re planning to ask your stylist about that Hermes bag.
"Elysium": You find the ending of this movie terrifying and you’re planning to ask your facialist about that Med-Pod 3000.
Sign you’re probably in the 99%
"Blue Jasmine": You find this ending of this movie funny and you can’t imagine ever affording an apartment in San Francisco.
"Elysium": You find the ending of this movie motivating and you can’t imagine ever affording a faux Tuscan mansion.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun