ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – E – Election (1999)

Director: Alexander Payne

Writer: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor (Screenplay) Tom Perrotta (Novel)

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell, Mark Harelik, Phil Reeves, Molly Hagan

Plot: A high school teacher’s personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.


Tagline – Reading, Writing, Revenge.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wonderful Comedy

Story: Election starts when we head to the high school, with teacher Jim McAllister (Broderick) who is watching over the student body presidency race, with the favourite being hard working goodie to shoes Tracy Flick (Witherspoon), who had also gotten his best friend fired after an affair. Jim pushes injured high school jock Paul Metzler (Klein) to run for presidency, which only ends up bringing his younger sister Tammy (Campbell) into the race too.

With the race well and truly underway, the candidates must campaign for the victory, knowing how well they can appeal to the rest of the students involved in the race, until Jim gets involved in the final result, showing even a student presidency is filled with twists and turns.

Thoughts on Election

Characters – Jim McAllister is the teacher at the high school, he is used to the routine, married and involved with how the school operates, he is involved in the school body presidency race and has seen his best friend get caught having an affair with a student. He tries to remain professional and decides to go out of his way to bring down Tracy. Tracy Flick is the goodie to shoes student that is running for student body presidency unopposed, she does everything in the school to make sure she gets extra attention, believing it will help her in life, though he weakness was an affair with a teacher, she isn’t happy about having competition and will try to talk her way out of any sticky situations. Paul Metzler is the dim witted high school football star, he suffered a broken leg skiing, leaving him feeling empty, he gets pushed into running for president because of how the students look up to him and his honest kind nature goes against everything a high school jock would have been shown in high school. Tammy is the younger sister of Paul, she is still wondering about her own sexuality and when her love interest leaves her for her brother, she wants to run for president to get back at her, her style is to be rebellious gets extra praise within the student body.

PerformancesMatthew Broderick is wonderful in this leading role, he plays the role so calmly through his struggles and when he snaps you believe him feeling the effects of his life’s problems. Reese Witherspoon gives her best performance of her early career here, showing just how capable of being both pleasing on the outside and how calculated she can be too. Chris Klein is great to see too showing he was going to go onto bigger things in his career, with Jessica Campbell impressing throughout the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a high school presidency run that is filled with twists and turns along the way with one of the teachers getting involved in outcome to try and make a difference in people’s lives. This is a story that is trying to show how mistakes in lives can reinvent or destroy your life, each character has been through or caused a mistake and has to change their lives, we also get to tackle a few early high school problems and willing accept the change in traditions of high school characters. This story does feel before its time with how the certain moments unfold that have been elevated in life nowadays.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film comes from just how each event unfolds, it will get laughs with just how dry certain parts of the film are too, the romance of the film is showing how love can make people will make mistakes which will change their lives forever.

SettingsThis movie does have a high school setting, it does feel like a natural high school without anything making it stand out in any other way, making us feel like this could be real life.


Scene of the Movie – The election day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Why did he pick a banana, when apples are his favourite food?

Final Thoughts This is an entertaining comedy that does feel well before its time, it has wonderful performance and will make you laugh through the film.

Overall: Laugh Along Funny.

2 comments on “ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – E – Election (1999)

  1. I did enjoy this movie, I really appreciate Matthew Broderick, but Reese Witherspoon always annoys me. Perhaps I have encountered too many petite, go-getter blondes in my life that have annoyed me (me being a tall, redhead goofball – I guess it’s to be expected).

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