Saturday, February 27, 2016

Election

Movie Name: Election
Year of Release: 1999
Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell, Mark Harelik, Phil Reeves, Molly Hagan, Delaney Driscoll, Colleen Camp, Matt Malloy, Jeanine Jackson, Holmes Osborne
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis & Review:
"Election" was one of the most critically celebrated films of 1999. The film was director Alexander Payne's second directorial effort, after the well received (and little seen) "Citizen Ruth". "Election" takes place in Omaha, NE and focuses on two central characters: high school teacher Jim McAllister and student Tracy Flick. Tracy is an overtly ambitious and determined teenage girl, who is running for class president, seemingly without opposition. Jim knows that Tracy was involved in an affair with one of his colleagues, which cost him his job and his marriage. Annoyed by her presumptuousness, Jim decides to convince the popular but dim witted Paul to run against her, and to everyone's surprise, Paul's younger adopted sister also joins the race. These unexpected obstacles throw Tracy off, but she's still undeterred to win at any cost.
Alexander Payne has made a career of observing the unraveling of the lives of every day people. His characters are traditionally faced with a somewhat cathartic event, and their aftermath and how it affects their surrounding relationships is traditionally the focus of his features. "Election" is very successful in showcasing the life of a small midwestern city, and how the ambition of a young woman in high school throws into disarray the life of a teacher, who was blissfully sedated in the tranquility of his own existence. It's a film with a corrosive irony that also benefits from great performances from Matthew Broderick and particularly Reese Witherspoon (this character fits her to a tee, and it's almost the opposite of what she created for Matthew Bright's "Freeway"). A very good film worth watching.

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