Details: (M), 103 mins, United States, English
Synopsis: When an obnoxious student (Reece Witherspoon) appears set for a clear run into the seat of school president, a teacher (Matthew Broderick) intervenes by pathing the way for a brother and sister to make the race more interesting.
A remorseless depiction of rather pathetic characters.
Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) has been named Teacher of the Year three times in twelve years, he loves his job, he's good to the students. It's a shame his marriage is pretty sterile, but there's always porn movies and girlie magazines. The trouble with McAllister, he shouldn't have tried to interfere with destiny. Well, that's according to top student and irritating over-achiever Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) who's the only candidate running for the presidency of the student council. McAllister decides to encourage popular injured jock Paul Metzler (Chris Klein) to run against her. Tracy is outraged, divine right rests with her. And then a third candidate enters the arena, Paul's anarchic sister Tammy (Jessica Campbell) who wants revenge for Paul taking her girlfriend... Tensions are starting to show at George Washington Carver High.
This is such a refreshing and subversive take on teen and adult politics. The central characters are all too recognisable, just stretched into a credible distortion. The film is a major achievement of co-writer/director Alexander Payne whose previous film was the largely unseen Citizen Ruth. He cheekily uses freeze frames, various voice over POV's to enrich and subvert this teen terrain. Witherspoon is fiercely wonderful as the purposeful candidate, Matthew Broderick shakes off his youthful image to believably inhabit his short-sleeved shirts and ties with a touch of grey at the temples.
Election is remorseless in its depiction of these rather pathetic characters and yet there are fleeting moments when you actually feel sorry for them.
David`s comments: A consistently witty and intelligent high school comedy which is really about the American political system itself. Similar in tone to the delicious Rushmore, the film delights in depicting the perversions going on beneath the surface of a seemingly proper suburban community. Matthew Broderick, as the teacher who tries to ensure democracy, has never been better and Reese Witherspoon is spot on as the awful Tracy Flick, a Monica Lewinsky in the making.
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