The high school Class President election is approaching and it looks like Tracy Flick is going to win, unopposed. However, teacher Jim McAllister has other plans. He convinces jock Paul Metzler to run, sparking off an interesting chain of events.Written by
Reese Witherspoon's portrayal of Tracy Flick was voted as the 45th Greatest Movie Performances of All Time by Premiere Magazine. See more »
After Jim's lovemaking with Linda he drives a fantasy car back to school. On the road he has a lit cigarette in his left hand. When viewed from behind, the cigarette has disappeared. See more »
Being suspended is like getting a paid vacation. Why do they think it's a punishment? It's like your dog pees on the carpet and you give him a treat. Then you get in trouble for skipping school, it's so stupid! Hendricks told me, "One more time" and I'd be expelled. Sounded good to me.
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Film title logo appears when end credits are finished. See more »
The Jody Grind
Written by Horace Silver
Performed by Quintetto X
Courtesy of Instinct Records
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group See more »
"Dear Lord Jesus, I really must insist that you help me win the election tomorrow"
"Dear Lord Jesus," prays Tracy Flick the night before the election for student body president, "I do not often speak with you and ask for things, but now, I really must insist that you help me win the election tomorrow because I deserve it and Paul Metzler doesn't, as you well know. I realize that it was your divine hand that disqualified Tammy Metzler and now I'm asking that you go that one last mile and make sure to put me in office where I belong so that I may carry out your will on earth as it is in heaven. Amen."
Tracy (Reese Witherspoon) is an overachieving senior in suburban George Washington Carver High School (where the student body is all white). What Tracy wants, she gets, using a combination of single-minded hard work, bright smiles as phony as a television infomercial, eager volunteering and a ruthlessness that varies between chirpiness and squinted eyes. As Tracy says, quoting her Mom, "The weak are always trying to sabotage the strong."
Then one of Tracy's teachers, Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) decides the world needs to be saved from Tracy. He talks one of the school's popular football athlete's to run against Tracy. From now on Jim has his hands full trying to sabotage Tracy's relentless campaign, impregnate his wife, convince himself his next door neighbor, a recent divorcée, is really going to understand him if they can only check into a motel for a couple of hours...and deal with the consequences of everything he set in motion.
Election, written and directed by Alexander Payne, is one of the funniest, darkest satires of human behavior since Jonathan Swift recommended that the poor should simply sell their children to be eaten by the rich. There are a lot of teenagers in this movie, but it's not just another teen-age movie. We're looking at the ludicrous depths to which ambition and good intentions, when mixed with politics, can take us. If that seems ponderous, it's about as ponderous as Tracy Flick's mom writing compulsively to people like Connie Chung and Elizabeth Dole asking for advice. (Never give up on your dreams is the usual reply.)
The script moves from the exaggerated to the outlandish with great style. The actors deliver the goods with deadpan sincerity and self-serving honesty. Reese Witherspoon as Tracy Flick hits the bull's-eye with unnerving accuracy. She is so sincere in her insincerity, which is, in Tracy Flick's own way, completely sincere, that Witherspoon makes us smile and shudder at the same time. As outstanding as she is, Matthew Broderick is the heart of the movie. Jim McAllister is part lech, part nebbish, but mostly good guy. It's a funny, almost poignant performance. Payne's script and Broderick's acting give us a perfect ending that's just as brittle, cool and amusing as the rest of the movie.
I like Election a lot. I hope as time passes the movie isn't forgotten.
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