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Election (A Movie Review)

Updated: Apr 4, 2020



ELECTION  (1999)

Starring Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Loren Nelson, Phil Reeves, Emily Martin, Molly Hagan and Colleen Camp.

Screenplay by Alexander Payne.

Directed by Alexander Payne.

Distributed by MTV Pictures.  103 minutes.   Rated R.

It’s always nice surprise when a film comes out that actually has some intelligent ideas.  So much so that I want to give this film the benefit of the doubt.  Election is a nice little film that uses a high school presidential election as a microcosm for the whole twisted modern political process.

The film follows a popular teacher (Matthew Broderick) who is in charge of the student election.  Unhappy that only one student is running and that student is the insufferably spunky do-gooder Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon), he opens a Pandora’s box by suggesting that the school football hero (Chris Klein) run against her.  As Broderick sheepishly dips his toe deeper and deeper into the muck, the election becomes a whirlpool of anger and repercussions.

In the end it is Broderick who is run over by his own little Machiavellian plot – losing his wife, his job and his home.  Broderick is terrific in the role and Witherspoon is very funny, too.  But all along the movie seems to be straining to be more outrageous than it turns out being.  Election is an enjoyable film, but probably not as funny or cutting as the makers had hoped.  (5/99)

Alex Diamond

Copyright ©1999 All rights reserved. Posted: May 5, 1999.

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