A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Loren Nelson ...
Custodian
Emily Martin ...
Girl in Crisis
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Storyline

Tracy Flick is running unopposed for this year's high school student election. But school civics teacher Jim McAllister has a different plan. Partly to establish a more democratic election, and partly to satisfy some deep personal anger toward Tracy, Jim talks popular varsity football player Paul Metzler to run for president as well. Chaos ensues. Written by R. P. Falvey <falvey@scf.usc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Reading, Writing, Revenge.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, sex-related dialogue and language, and a scene of drug use | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

7 May 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eleição  »

Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$119,080 (USA) (23 April 1999)

Gross:

£168,090 (UK) (1 October 1999)
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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While shooting the basement scene involving Jim McAllister, the film crew left everything the real tenants of the house had in their basement. They only made room for the film equipment. See more »

Goofs

When Tracy enumerates her accomplishments, she states she played Hodel in "Fiddler on the Roof", but is then seen singing the part of Chava. Also, Tracy mispronounces Hodel, which ought to rhyme with "huddle", not "yodel". See more »

Quotes

Jim McAllister: [narrating] Oh, there's one more thing about Tracy I think you should know.
Dave Novotny: Her pussy gets so wet you can't believe it.
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Crazy Credits

The end titles include four "The producers wish to thank the following:" cards, one "Very Special Thanks to:" card, and one "Extra Very Special Thanks to:" card. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jersey Girl (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

If You'll Be the Teacher
Written by Sue Miller and Ned Miller
Performed by Mandy Barnett
Courtesy of Sire Records Group
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User Reviews

 
Flick for President?
5 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Academy Award attention heaped on "Sideways" helped to make Alexander Payne a mainstream name among casual film goers, but many of us knew about his talent as a film maker long before. And his two more recent films--"Sideways" and "About Schmidt"--have been much gentler (thought still terrific) than his earlier efforts. Before "Election," Payne had already made "Citizen Ruth," a caustic, bracing satire of the abortion issue, and "Election" continued his penchant for harsh, uncomfortable comedy. I mean that in a good way, though. Payne's movies are funny, but they make you uneasy for laughing at them, and they have sharp, intelligent insights into the attitudes that drive American values.

In "Election," Payne uses a high school class presidential election as an opportunity to lampoon everything that's goofy about the American political system. Just as in our national elections for president, the winner is not necessarily the person with the most integrity, and honesty is a liability, not a virtue. The person who is willing to play dirtiest comes out on top, and elections aren't about who is most qualified but rather about who is most popular. And, the best part about the movie is its acknowledgement of voter apathy. Most Americans don't really give a damn, something that makes them not so different from the majority of high schoolers who don't even understand the point of having a class president to begin with. In fact, in the film's best scene, the assembly at which each candidate gives her/his campaign speech, one of the candidates (who joins the race out of spite) gets the best reception from the crowd when she encourages everyone not to vote at all.

Reese Witherspoon gives a wonderful performance as Tracy Flick, the school's most likely to succeed, whose goodie-goodie exterior hides the fact that she's willing to do just about anything to get ahead. Matthew Broderick is refreshingly unlikable as a social studies teacher who would like to see Tracy fail just once, until the fact that his own life is falling apart turns this wish into an obsession. And Chris Klein has some fun as the dopey, Jesus-following popular guy who becomes Tracy's arch rival, but never really even knows it.

Payne doesn't tidy up his film's moral messages. On the one hand, Tracy is obnoxious, and we want to see her fail as much as Broderick's character does. But she does know how to play the game, and isn't that part of what makes someone a good leader? We sympathize with Broderick up to a point, but his motives really are driven by a personal vendetta, not by any altruistic ideal of right vs. wrong. So if you normally need someone to root for in order to enjoy a movie, you're probably not going to like this one.

But who expects a hero?...I mean, come on, we're talking about American politics here.

Grade: A


48 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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