I'm sure cinema purists will fault me for leaving off Hannibal Lector and The Silence of the Lambs, but I was much more terrified by an over-achieving, duplicitous high school girl in Alexander Payne's "Election" than I was at a hammy, cannibalizing version of Richard Burton. Payne's movies eschew messages in favor of dark satire, but they are filled to the brim with social commentary. Tracy Flick is the ideal United States politician. Motivated, self-aggrandizing, manipulative-and now, unfortunately, completely in control of your life. Bonus points for humbling the once great and deliciously villainous Ferris Bueller, this time reincarnated as Matthew Broderick's poor and underachieving school teacher Jim McAllister. Comeuppance is a bitch, ain't she?
This 2nd film from Payne revolves around a high school teacher named Jim Mcallister and a young overachiever named Tracy Flick. the high school is getting ready to have its annual election and what seems like it will be a normal event becomes ever the more complicated due to the unusual contenders. This sets off a chain of humorous events that again makes things complicated for all involved.
Very interesting script by Payne. He has a unique style of story telling that translates into these quirky but substantial films we see on screen. the themes of morals and ethics are very prominent here in this story and it correlates with elections of all kinds. The narration was a nice addition to the story and helped with the feel of the film. The film makes you actually think back to your own student elections in high school and what some kids may have done to get a spot on the council.
matthew Broderick is exceptional here. he seemed to fit into this role like a glove. this was such a well written character and Broderick really went for it here and gave us a guy desperately trying to involve himself in a positive way in the lives of his students but things just keep getting more complicated. Reese witherspoon delivers a terrific comedic performance here. Her humorous and spunky take on this obnoxious student is incredible and makes me think twice about how funny she can be after her horrendeous role in legally blonde. she also really nails the Midwestern accent. She is the films true highlight!
His direction here is no different. the camera choices and images used all make for a different kind of political story. Very well timed editing and good lighting as well.
This is without a doubt one of the real great flicks in the career of this unique director.
Indeed I remember a real life counterpart of almost all of them from my own school days!
So I think it's fair to say the movie did what it set out to do uncannily well!
Excellent comedy of complicated high school teacher Broderick who has outrageous love affair with two psychotic women and has an unqualified hatred for bloviating Witherspoon, who strives to become school president. Ingenious screenplay (written by Jim Taylor and director Payne) is wickedly funny, always on-target, and somehow, given the admittedly serious ingredients, avoids mean-spiritedness. Broderick is great, but Witherspoon is the standout. Broderick's most accomplished comedy to date.