• R, 1 hr. 42 min.
  • Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Alexander Payne
    In Theaters:
    May 3, 1999 Wide
    On DVD:
    Oct 19, 1999
  • Paramount Pictures.

Opening

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Election Reviews

Page 1 of 126
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

January 8, 2014
A seriously witless, humorless comedy that wants to play with the ideas of morality and ethics but is clearly lost about where it wants to go, and the fact that its many unlikable characters never display any of the two makes it boring real fast, with nothing for us to care about.
cosmo313
cosmo313

Super Reviewer

January 24, 2011
*Sigh* If only more high school films could be of the same quality as this. Calling it a "high school" film though, is a litle tricky, as that terms seems to have some unfavorable connotations around it. I use it because it is set at a high school, and involves students and teachers, but it really transcends that arena, and thus shouldn't be compared to something like, Not Another Teen Movie, which, while funny at times, is just a poor mess...it also happens to spoof this movie.

The story here concerns a nice and popular teacher named Jim McAllister who tries to be really enthusiastic about his job as a way of hiding his frustrations and feelings of dissatisfaction with other parts of his life. Mr. McAllister is bound and determined to stop Tracy Flick from winning the election for student body president. Tracy is the classic Type A overachiever who will stop at nothing to find success and happiness. She can be nice and friendly, but is deep down hiding a dark side of vindictiveness and manipulation.

McAllister convinces a popular ex-jock to run against Tracy, hoping that she will lose, and learn a nice lesson in humility. What ends up happening though is a nutty story about finding out that trying to stop someone like Tracy is something one would be better off just avoiding.

This is a wickedly funny and darkly satiric film that just feels right with Alexander Payne as co-writer and director. The film is adapted from a novel I haven't read, but the script is really sharp and really nails the world of overly ambitious overachievers and the people who can't stand them. This isn't quite as dark as I was thinking it might be, but despite the quirky tone, this is still a film with a lot of bite to it.

I just loved the little details to the characters and they way it was all edited together. There's a lot of voice over, but it works just fine, and I liked that the start followed multiple characters, even if it mostly focused on just McAllister and Tracy. In a way, this reminded me of Rushmore, but I think this is a better film, and the quirkiness isn't overwhelming. It's used as an exclamation point. Not that Rushmore isn't good, I just find it to be a tad overrated.

The casting is just dynamite. Matthew Broderick, who is more off than on with his acting, is quite good here, and this ties with Ferris Bueller as his best work. He really nails the everyday schlub who you want to like, but can't totally get on board with. That's how it is with Tracy too. You want to like her, but even she is hard to fully sympathize with. That's what makes this all so much fun and entertaining though. Apparently Thora Birch was supposed to be in, but left due to creative differences. I figure she was supposed to play Tracy (or possibly Tammy), and even though I love her, Reese totally owns as Tracy and is brilliant. So too is Jessica Campbell a burn out lesbian who joins the election race in order to expose elections as the sham they really are. She comes close to stealing the show and I'd love to see her in more productions.

Payne has become one of my favorite filmmakers, and so far, he's not had a miss yet. Give this one a watch, it's some great stuff.
Lucas M

Super Reviewer

July 11, 2012
Terrific!
Nicki M

Super Reviewer

January 16, 2008
Definitely one of Reese Witherspoon's best roles. She is perfect for the part of overachiever, Tracey Flick. I have to admit to a certain fondness for Tracey. I have seen this movie many times over the years, and though all I have seen it with find her awful, I have always seen her in a quite sympathetic light. I think this is due to how Reese plays her. Yes, she is grating, but there is a vulnerability to her also.
The rest of the cast are also good. I find Matthew Broderick totally sniffling here - I dislike his character more than Tracey's! (Matthew plays him well, I just don't like the character at all). Also Chris Klein and Jessica Campbell. Just a really good black comedy set in high school. Well worth seeing.
c0up
c0up

Super Reviewer

December 4, 2011
'Election'. Darkly funny and a witty high school comedy not like the norm. Reese Witherspoon is wonderful, as a ruthless, annoyingly cheerful high school go-getter out to win the top prize of them all. And then there's poor Matthew Broderick, the bumbling, but loved teacher, whose personal and professional life slowly but surely comes apart for trying to mess with Tracy Flick!
TheDudeLebowski65
TheDudeLebowski65

Super Reviewer

October 13, 2011
Election is a fairly good comedy with a good cast of actors. Now, let me get this out of the way, I'm not the biggest fan of Matthew Broderick, but when he does something good, I'll give him credit, and he is able to make a good film. Election is good little teen comedy with plenty of laughs. Director Alexander Payne does a good job at making the story and laughs move along at a steady pace. The actors themselves are good here. The story is good, and very entertaining. There is some good low brow comedy at times, and the cast work well with original ideas on-screen. Election is a good, entertaining film that is sure to make you laugh a few times. The film is not perfect, but there is charm to the film, and the cast make this film watchable. Election is a well directed film by Alexander Payne and he crafts a film that is a memorable teen comedy. Overall this is a good film worth watching, and it has a good cast, low brow humor and an entertaining story. The film is one of Broderick's best films. As far as a comedy is concerned, Election is a funny film that is worth watching. This one of the better Teen Comedy films that have come out in the last half of the 90's where most teen films where very idiotic, Election is smart and dimwitted and is able to pull it off very well. As far as a teen comedy is concerned, Election is one of the better films compared to say Not Another Teen Movie. A good film with a good cast.
murphmann93
murphmann93

Super Reviewer

June 23, 2011
Really didn't enjoy this movie despite me thinking that Reese WItherspoon would shine which in all fairness she did, but this film didn't.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

June 19, 2011
What's the difference between ethics and morals? Is there a difference? Finally a high school comedy with the huevos to ask the hard questions! Broderick is sufficient to the task but Witherspoon is bottled lightning in this walk on the dark side.
TomBowler
TomBowler

Super Reviewer

September 7, 2009
It has its moments but it's nothing to write home about. Is that a phrase? Full review later.
Dean !

Super Reviewer

March 2, 2007
An ok black comedy/drama. It has a good cast and has some funny moments, not quite sure why it was so hyped though?
Michael S

Super Reviewer

March 4, 2007
A pitch-perfect american comedy. Hilarious, clever, dark and disturbing. A true original.
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2011
Wow... so good, I even identified myself with Tracy Flick. Biting, gritty and dark. My kind of movie.
FilmFanatik
FilmFanatik

Super Reviewer

April 30, 2007
At first I wasn't sure about what to make of Election upon the first viewing. To tell you the truth, I hardly watched it the first time. Not because of the movie, per se, but I just didn't give it the time it needed...at the time. Now after revisiting it, I can safely say that this is a much darker and more interesting comedy than I had expected. There is less emphasis on young humor (as most high school movies tend to do, although this is in no way a high school teen comedy). The humor on display here has more to do with circumstances and human bevhavior, not the antics contained therein. What I think I like the most about this movie is that pretty much all of the main characters are a two-way street. That is, you both love and hate them. They do some really dumb and terrible things in the film, but yet you just want to keep watching and see what they'll do next. That's a very tough act to pull off, and the cast pulls it off here in spades. The thing is though, I'm not entirely sure that I can sit down and watch this movie very often. It's one of those films you have to be in a particular kind of mood for. I'm not sure what that says about the movie (if anything), but I'll probably shelve this one and dig it back out in a month or two and revisit it again.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

June 3, 2007
What a difficult film. For everything I liked about it, something else undercut it. Reese Witherspoon is outstanding, but Matthew Broderick annoys me. The narration is irritating and throws a kink in the flow, but it's clear that Tom Perrotta's novel (from which the film's adapted) had a certain style to it that was impossible to preserve otherwise. Telling from different perspectives is good, but constantly jarring the viewer to do it is bad.

The story of this film is a good one: how far would you go to win an election? And at its core is a question most people couldn't readily answer: what is the difference between morals and ethics? Ambitious film-making that hits in places and misses in others, Election gets points for its effort, but not for its success. Worth watching though, if only to shake up the usual, movie-by-numbers Hollywood fare.
Jay H

Super Reviewer

October 17, 2010
On its surface, the film appears to be a simple high school-themed comedy. In reality, it's not that at all. The point of this film is not to be riotous, like a pure comedy. (Though it is funny.) The point is not to make a statement about teenagers, like a high school film. The film's overall theme answers a broad question vaguely mentioned in the film's dialogue. Where is the line demarcating ethical behavior and unethical behavior? What demarcates morality and immorality? What drives us to do these things? The two are, in the end, connected by the wild series of events happening to Broderick's character in a thematically fascinating conclusion.
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

April 4, 2010
Matthew Broderick delivers as the troubled and ridiculously depressed teacher, with Reese staying peppy and deplorably insane.
middleeasternfilms
middleeasternfilms

Super Reviewer

June 1, 2008
Like a lot of comedies I've seen lately, this one has it's moments but just falls into the 'entertaining' category. Must be some kind of minor cult film.
KJ P

Super Reviewer

January 18, 2010
Sort of dirty, but it is an incredible film!
Sarah G

Super Reviewer

August 30, 2006
Review coming soon
Dan S

Super Reviewer

November 2, 2007
A smart, witty satire on a high school election and the lies, jealousy, and deceit that emerge when a spunky young student (Reese Witherspoon) rubs one of her teachers (Matthew Broderick) the wrong way. Its nothing incredible, there are times when you feel it gets a little to clever for its own good, but the performances from both Broderick and Witherspoon are outstanding. There is one subplot that I didn't like, one that cries "look how different and offbeat we are!", but, again, the positives outweigh the negatives here. That being a sharp script, great acting, and a clever, well fleshed out finale that is satisfying.
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