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on 6 February 2018
Excellent movie with lots of humor....
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on 24 September 2015
Never heard of this, watched it by accident, thinking it was some sub-Clueless schoolgirl comedy. However it is much more subversive. Just checked who the Director is Alexander Payne and realised that I have enjoyed other of his films (especially Sideways). Not sure how to recommend it, but like Heathers this is a dark comedy set in a school, but the main character is a teacher not a pupil. I suppose because it is set in a school adults would think its a Clueless type comedy, but it is unsuitable for younger kids and has a 15 rating, so it must have been hard to market. If you like Heathers and Sideways then you may well enjoy this.
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on 11 September 2014
Great adult black comedy with fantastic performances from Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Brodderick. 'Election' storyline is as described by other reviewers. I would conclude that it is the school yard cinematic equivalent of the same grown up ugly sleeziness, treachery and naked ambition you will find in national politics - replete with backstabbing, hypocrisy, sycophancy and ultimate downfall of some players. A whimsical schoolyard equivalent of the UK 80s drama 'House of Cards.' This is not a film to miss and it remains one of my favourite films of all times and a jolly good laugh to boot. Pity about the redundant obscene language and sex scenes, w hich don't add much to the story and puts it off limits to under 18s.
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on 4 July 2010
Tracy Flick is a seemingly perfect overachieving student who is running unopposed for the position of high school student president in the upcoming student government election. The school's student adviser and history teacher Jim McAllister has witnessed the darker side of Tracy's personality, beneath Tracy's goody two shoes veneer he's seen an obsessive, manic and manipulative self-obsessed go getter that will go to any lengths to get what she wants and he knows her dark secret which led to his best friend being fired from teaching at the school.
Irritated that an unopposed Tracy will win the election by default, he decides to throw a spanner into the works and organises some competition by manipulating Paul Metzler, the schools highly popular, though slightly dumb quarterback hero into running against her. However when Paul upsets his younger sister Tammy, she too decides to throw her hat in the ring and the election soon backfires into a dangerous farce which ends up putting careers and reputations on the line.
Election is one of those rare films that manages to do everything exceptionally well. It has a great cast, great direction and a smart, stinging and darkly comical storyline that hooks you in from start to finish.
If you enjoyed films like 'Office Space', 'Pretty Persuasion' and 'Mean Girls' then 'Election' is highly recommended.
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on 17 January 2003
Alexander Payne's earlier material, Citizen Ruth and this comedy from 1999, might gain more interest with the upcoming release of About Schmidt (2003)- that has garnered both critical acclaim & commercial success in the States (and appears to have a brilliant performance from Jack Nicholson, on a par with his turn in The Pledge). This film is, bizarrely, produced by MTV- which appears to be at odds with the bite it has & the fact MTV have produced such lame PC-drivel like Save the Last Dance.
The story is centred around student politics & adult indisgression's- parts of this film reminded me of writers like Philip Roth & Jonathan Franzen (the affair between Tracy & Dave reminded me a little of the Chip-section in The Corrections). Following the dismissal & destruction of co-teacher Dave Novotny, Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick in a career best performance) vaguely blames Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon). Tracy is one of the over-ambitious, the sole candidate for student president. In an unconscious (?) act of revenge, Mr M. talks an injured football player (American Pie's Chris Klein) into standing against her. Add to this a complication when the lesbian sister of the football player is left by a cheerleader for her brother- precipitating an anarchistic third candidate.
Election is an excellent satire, personally I rate it over recent misanthropic films like Happiness and American Beauty- alongside Lawn Dogs, it is one of the best portraits of America in recent years. Look at this film, then look at the debacle in Florida 2000's "Election" that saw George Dubya get "elected". So, is Dubya the Klein-character- rich, everything handed to him on a plate, with people prepared to send him in as a patsy to defeat the enemy, get their own perspective on board, slightly dim & part of the jock establishment? Or, is he Tracy- who will do anything, including getting "friends and associates" to count her results, trash the enemy while painting over her own misdeameanours & threatening legal action when things aren't going her way? Either way, I'm with Tammy and her "F**k everything" notion- it's notable that she garners the true popular vote here, though has been discounted from the election when falling on her own sword...
The tone of this film is quite odd, pitiful (Dave at the end of the film) & unusual (Linda, Dave's ex-wife is not that attractive, ditto Jim & Diana); Reese Witherspoon delivers a brilliant performance. The moment where she realises she loses is great, particularly the after-shot of her crying on her bed: literally destructing on-screen and reminding me of Charlotte Rampling in Stardust Memories (1980). The final moments of the film see Jim reinvent himself, pitying Tracy when he sees her for the last time- you do get the feeling her ambitions have made her the loneliest person in the world (hey, I even thought about Nixon. Or, at least, Anthony Hopkins interpretation of him in Oliver Stone's film). Love the hilarious end scene, where eternal recurrence appears in Jim's utopic new life...
Election is an excellent black comedy, proof that Americans can do irony & satire at the drop of a hat- countering the frequent British accusations that they can't do either (as we make classics like Purely Belter, Bend it like Beckham & Mean Machine!!). It's a lot more adult than most US-teen movies, which tend to hinge around sex and farting in a juvenile manner. Highly recommended and at this budget price, a bargain!
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on 11 August 2007
how this film is so unheard of is beyond me. this is icredible outstanding and original film making, but i guess thats what you expect fom director Alexander Payne (sideways). im no fan of Matthew Broderick, but he does give a perfectly fitting and believable performance. Reese Witherspoon is incredibly entertaining and the supporting cast is perfectly picked and the film is wisely scripted. its gentle comedy is absolutely perfect, its drama supprisingly engaging and script solid as can be. this easily ranks along side sideways, little miss sunshine and the under rated trans america. one of the independent highlights of the decade.
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on 9 May 2003
Election is the best American film of the last thirty years. It is nothing less than a devastating dissection of the male psyche, in all its vanity, delusion and hypocrisy. It's fair to say that this film does not merely put masculinity on trial - it delivers a verdict (and that verdict is not 'innocent', believe me...).
The film is full of wonderfully observed, telling little details. The bit when Mr. M. is describing to us how he used to be, not merely a 'teacher' but 'an educator' speaks volumes about his inflated and deluded view of himself - a view that he knows to be mere self-deception. The film brilliantly dramatises the close link between deception of oneself and deception of others, in the contrast between Mr M.'s rosy, morally informed voice-over and the grim, seedy reality of his mid-west existence. The acting is uniformly wonderful, particularly from Matthew Broderick, and the dialogue full of nuance and irony.<PThis is a masterful piece of film making - tight, brutal, hilarious, profound. No wonder it didn't win an Oscar.
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on 5 December 2000
It is always satisfying to discover something great, and then realise nobody else has heard of it. Without the usual hype, word of mouth, and spoilers; you can take a movie for what it is. In the case of Election, it is a superb,hilarious, biting and dark comedy that deserves a wider audience.
Everything is good about the film. The plot (which goes where other high school films dare not go e.g. She's all that, 10 things...etc)is excellent. The acting (especially a marvellous Matthew Broderick) is spot on, while the whole style of the movie is designed to avoid any boredom.
If you've never heard of it, remedy that immediately by tracking it down. You are missing out on an overlooked gem.
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on 20 April 2001
Election is a very black comedy, starring Reese Witherspoon as ambitious straight-A student, Tracy Flick and Matthew Broderick as much-liked teacher, Mr M.
The story revolves around the race to become school president, led by the unstoppable Flick. However, Mr M, sick of the one-horse race, puts in another candidate - Mr Popularity, Paul Metzler.
Soon, the race is hotting up, as Paul's lesbian, school-hating sister, Tammy, steps in, as an act of revenge against Paul's girlfriend, who has almost entirely formed his campaign and who unceremoniously dumped her a few weeks earlier.
This film is very funny, especially the deadpan narration given by each of the characters and the almost farcical face expressions evident throughout.
Overall, the performances from all the cast are excellent and their comic timing is perfect. Deserving special credit are Reese Witherspoon in yet another accomplished performance, as the female version of Big Brother's Nasty Nick, and the actors playing the roles of Paul and Tammy Metzler. Indeed, it is the veteran Matthew Broderick's performance that falls rather flat.
Despite the very black humour, which some will not enjoy, the film is extremely dark and can often be confusing, with many plotlines running at once and making the film often difficult to follow.
Even though it may seem that the expected happy ending is absent from Election, this only adds to the originality of this black comedy. There is a moral to the story though, which settles the balance between good and bad.
At times, this film seems overly long and bumbles along at too slow a pace. Despite this, Election is a funny black comedy, that provides entertainment and a character you love to hate in Tracy Flick, a role that Witherspoon really sinks her teeth into.
This movie, however funny, is sometimes deeply unsettling and makes you thankful that you are not part of American education. If only we Brits could have actresses as good as the brilliant Reese Witherspoon, who can make the best of a bad movie. Thankfully, she does not have to in this killer comedy, which is almost certain to impress.
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on 19 October 2014
The only film by Alexander Payne I really love, the only ones I've not seen are The Descendants & Nebraska. Possibly still Reece Witherspoon's finest hour and the whole cast are just as good. A really smart and funny film which I've watched many times.
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