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Election (1999)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  7 May 1999 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 68,859 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 437 user | 168 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: Election (1999)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 24 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: Alexander Payne
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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

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

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)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Reese Witherspoon's portrayal of Tracy Flick was voted as the 45th Greatest Movie Performances of All Time by Premiere Magazine. See more »

Goofs

Tracy, in her voiceover after the election, refers to being in the "top seventh percentile"; percentiles do not work that way. See more »

Quotes

[a boy grabs a handful of the complimentary chewing gum sticks from Tracy's stand]
Tracy Flick: Hey! Hey! One per person! Put those back!
'Eat Me' Boy: Eat me.
See more »

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 Undeclared: So You Have a Boyfriend (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Matchmaker, Matchmaker
Written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick
See more »

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User Reviews

Not totally convincing but an enjoyable dark comedy that swipes at politics and sexual relations
10 July 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

James McAllister is a contented high school teacher who is presiding over the elections for school president this year. However, the only student running for the position is the overly keen Tracey Flick – a driven student who he feels is callous and blames for his best friend being fired for falling in love with her. Desperate to prevent her becoming president, James convinces injured jock Paul to run, prompting Paul's love-scorned sister to also stand. Where once the presidency was a good clean-cut race, Tracey takes the competition badly, and it descends into something a lot more sinister.

I wasn't totally sure about this film but I had heard good things about it and, even though the fact that it was an MTV Production put me off a bit, I decided to give it a try. The film is quite clever for the most part and takes the worn genre and clichés of high school movies and makes them into a quite good little political satire of sorts – albeit one that is rather downbeat at times. The comedy is not laugh out loud funny and maybe that's a problem, but I enjoyed the parallels with modern politics (and sexual issues) and found it to make some good points in a funny way. Of course the end is rather downbeat but only because it is sadly believable.

I must say that I was rather put off by a couple of different things. The first was the amount of sexual material in the film – not a real problem but I was a little put off by how graphically the subject of underage sex was dealt with. This was a minor problem (if you can pardon the pun!) but what I found a little worrying was Payne's apparent misogynistic touch on the film – all the men were hapless saps and the women held the real power all the way; I'm not saying this is not true but Payne has little sympathy for his female characters and they may come off better overall but there is no love lost for them.

The cast opens with an amusing bit of role reversal that sees everyone's favourite high school student become a teacher in the shape of Matthew Broderick. Hardly having the best run of roles for a while, he is actually pretty good here even if some of what happens to his character doesn't seem to fit very well. Witherspoon is annoying but the difference here is that it is intentional! She easily fits into the character and her role has a great touch to it – I'm not saying it is easy to enjoy her performance but she is good. Klein does his usual dumb jock thing but is fortunate that he has the material to support (this time) but I felt Campbell was left with a sympathetic character that was placed on the sidelines too much.

Overall I enjoyed this film but it had its limitations. It isn't hilariously funny as many coming to this genre may expect but it is quite cleverly written. The story struggles a bit as it goes along, with threads left hanging that stop it being as tight as it maybe could have been but generally I enjoyed it but can see why some others have problems with it.


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