Election (1999)

Directed by Alexander Payne
Written by Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor, Tom Perrotta (novel)

Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell, Molly Hagan, Delaney Driscoll, Mark Herelik, Phil Reeves, Colleen Camp.

At a Nebraska high school, Jim McCallister (Broderick) has been one of the most popular teachers, and guidance counsellors for over a decade. With a loving wife (Hagan), he has almost it all – although he longs to be a father.

One of his students is Tracy Flick (Witherspoon), an overachieving straight A student – who is running unopposed for the upcoming student body presidency. She also recently had a secret affair with one of Jim’s best friends (Herelik), and that left a sour taste in Jim’s mouth. Wanting to bring her down a peg, he enlists all round nice guy Paul (Klein) to run against her, as he has been down in the dumps since breaking his leg. Soon his sister Tammy (the late Campbell) decides to run too, after her girlfriend leaves her for Paul.

Absolutley brilliant little film, and in my opinion, career best performances from Broderick, Witherspoon and Klein. The script (based on the book by Perrotta) is wonderfully unique, in the storyline of the mild mannered teacher who cannot tolerate the ‘knowitall’ student – and his vendetta against her.

I also loved, what I can only presume ‘real middle America’ would be like in terms of the culture, and community that it is so strong with. Not being American myself (Australian here) – this type of culture is not as prevelant here, so it was somewhat foreign to me.

There is a complementary score, that works well with the quirky nature of the film.

There is also some quite brilliant camera work from director Payne, in both tracking shots, and a scene near the end of the film that has multiple close up shots of several characters that is paired with quick jump cuts that adds to the emphasis of the scene at hand.

1999 was one of my favourite years of cinema, and this is another example of a great film from this year.

If you have not seen this one, I highly recommend it, and it has aged particularly well.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: