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Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell, Mark Harelik ... see more see more... , Phil Reeves , Molly Hagan , Delaney Driscoll , Colleen Camp , Frankie Igrassia , Matt Malloy , Jeanine Jackson , Holmes Osborne , Loren Nelson , Emily Martin , Jonathan Marion , Amy Falcone , Matt Justesen , Nick Kenny , Brian Tobin , Christa Young , David Wenzel , Joel Parks , Larry Kaiser , Marilyn Tipp , Jeannie Brayman , Nick D'Agosto , James Devney , L. Carmen Novoa , Jason Paige , Matt Golden , Heather Koenig , Jillian Crane

Tracey Flick is running unopposed in this year's high school student council presidential election. But school civics teacher Jim McAllister decides to talk varsity football player Paul Metzler in to ... read more read more...running, partly to establish a more democratic election and partly to get at Tracey, another teacher's paramour.

Flixster Users

79% liked it

60,213 ratings


92% liked it

104 critics

DVD Release Date: October 19, 1999

Stats: 3,006 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (3,006)

  • January 9, 2014
    A seriously witless, humorless comedy that wants to play with the ideas of morality and ethics but is clearly lost about where it wants to go, and the fact that its many unlikable characters never display any of the two makes it boring real fast, with nothing for us to care about.
  • July 11, 2013
    *Sigh* If only more high school films could be of the same quality as this. Calling it a "high school" film though, is a litle tricky, as that terms seems to have some unfavorable connotations around it. I use it because it is set at a high school, and involves students and teach... read moreers, but it really transcends that arena, and thus shouldn't be compared to something like, Not Another Teen Movie, which, while funny at times, is just a poor also happens to spoof this movie.

    The story here concerns a nice and popular teacher named Jim McAllister who tries to be really enthusiastic about his job as a way of hiding his frustrations and feelings of dissatisfaction with other parts of his life. Mr. McAllister is bound and determined to stop Tracy Flick from winning the election for student body president. Tracy is the classic Type A overachiever who will stop at nothing to find success and happiness. She can be nice and friendly, but is deep down hiding a dark side of vindictiveness and manipulation.

    McAllister convinces a popular ex-jock to run against Tracy, hoping that she will lose, and learn a nice lesson in humility. What ends up happening though is a nutty story about finding out that trying to stop someone like Tracy is something one would be better off just avoiding.

    This is a wickedly funny and darkly satiric film that just feels right with Alexander Payne as co-writer and director. The film is adapted from a novel I haven't read, but the script is really sharp and really nails the world of overly ambitious overachievers and the people who can't stand them. This isn't quite as dark as I was thinking it might be, but despite the quirky tone, this is still a film with a lot of bite to it.

    I just loved the little details to the characters and they way it was all edited together. There's a lot of voice over, but it works just fine, and I liked that the start followed multiple characters, even if it mostly focused on just McAllister and Tracy. In a way, this reminded me of Rushmore, but I think this is a better film, and the quirkiness isn't overwhelming. It's used as an exclamation point. Not that Rushmore isn't good, I just find it to be a tad overrated.

    The casting is just dynamite. Matthew Broderick, who is more off than on with his acting, is quite good here, and this ties with Ferris Bueller as his best work. He really nails the everyday schlub who you want to like, but can't totally get on board with. That's how it is with Tracy too. You want to like her, but even she is hard to fully sympathize with. That's what makes this all so much fun and entertaining though. Apparently Thora Birch was supposed to be in, but left due to creative differences. I figure she was supposed to play Tracy (or possibly Tammy), and even though I love her, Reese totally owns as Tracy and is brilliant. So too is Jessica Campbell a burn out lesbian who joins the election race in order to expose elections as the sham they really are. She comes close to stealing the show and I'd love to see her in more productions.

    Payne has become one of my favorite filmmakers, and so far, he's not had a miss yet. Give this one a watch, it's some great stuff.
  • July 11, 2012
  • April 14, 2012
    Definitely one of Reese Witherspoon's best roles. She is perfect for the part of overachiever, Tracey Flick. I have to admit to a certain fondness for Tracey. I have seen this movie many times over the years, and though all I have seen it with find her awful, I have always seen h... read moreer in a quite sympathetic light. I think this is due to how Reese plays her. Yes, she is grating, but there is a vulnerability to her also.
    The rest of the cast are also good. I find Matthew Broderick totally sniffling here - I dislike his character more than Tracey's! (Matthew plays him well, I just don't like the character at all). Also Chris Klein and Jessica Campbell. Just a really good black comedy set in high school. Well worth seeing.
  • December 4, 2011
    'Election'. Darkly funny and a witty high school comedy not like the norm. Reese Witherspoon is wonderful, as a ruthless, annoyingly cheerful high school go-getter out to win the top prize of them all. And then there's poor Matthew Broderick, the bumbling, but loved teacher, whos... read moree personal and professional life slowly but surely comes apart for trying to mess with Tracy Flick!
  • October 13, 2011
    Election is a fairly good comedy with a good cast of actors. Now, let me get this out of the way, I'm not the biggest fan of Matthew Broderick, but when he does something good, I'll give him credit, and he is able to make a good film. Election is good little teen comedy with plen... read morety of laughs. Director Alexander Payne does a good job at making the story and laughs move along at a steady pace. The actors themselves are good here. The story is good, and very entertaining. There is some good low brow comedy at times, and the cast work well with original ideas on-screen. Election is a good, entertaining film that is sure to make you laugh a few times. The film is not perfect, but there is charm to the film, and the cast make this film watchable. Election is a well directed film by Alexander Payne and he crafts a film that is a memorable teen comedy. Overall this is a good film worth watching, and it has a good cast, low brow humor and an entertaining story. The film is one of Broderick's best films. As far as a comedy is concerned, Election is a funny film that is worth watching. This one of the better Teen Comedy films that have come out in the last half of the 90's where most teen films where very idiotic, Election is smart and dimwitted and is able to pull it off very well. As far as a teen comedy is concerned, Election is one of the better films compared to say Not Another Teen Movie. A good film with a good cast.
  • June 23, 2011
    Really didn't enjoy this movie despite me thinking that Reese WItherspoon would shine which in all fairness she did, but this film didn't.
  • June 19, 2011
    What's the difference between ethics and morals? Is there a difference? Finally a high school comedy with the huevos to ask the hard questions! Broderick is sufficient to the task but Witherspoon is bottled lightning in this walk on the dark side.
  • May 11, 2011
    It has its moments but it's nothing to write home about. Is that a phrase? Full review later.
  • April 24, 2011
    An ok black comedy/drama. It has a good cast and has some funny moments, not quite sure why it was so hyped though?

Critic Reviews

Lisa Alspector
August 24, 2010
Lisa Alspector, Chicago Reader

The treatment of this touchy material is impressive, neither gratuitous nor mincing, but this 1999 satirical comedy doesn't really go anywhere. Full Review

J. R. Jones
August 24, 2010
J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader

An instant classic, Alexander Payne's 1999 high school comedy seems even more scathing now that we're losing control of our own election machinery. Full Review

Ted Anthony
August 24, 2010
Ted Anthony, Associated Press

Election at first has the feel of a simple work. But don't let that fool you; it's a complex, deep tale. Full Review

Jay Carr
August 25, 2007
Jay Carr, Boston Globe

You've got to laugh at Witherspoon's tightly wound Little Miss Perfect, rising at dawn to do her hair and encase herself in a preppy look before baking cupcakes to pass out at school as vote-getters i... Full Review

Derek Elley
February 18, 2006
Derek Elley, Variety

A dark, insidiously funny satire on the self-involved ways otherwise rational people can allow narrow personal agendas to lead them astray to the point of self-destruction. Full Review

January 26, 2006
Time Out

This remarkable film may be set in high school, but its satiric take on moral corruption, political chicanery, adultery and seduction is anything but juvenile. Full Review

Janet Maslin
January 1, 2000
Janet Maslin, New York Times

The screenplay, by Payne and Jim Taylor, delights! Full Review

Peter Rainer
January 1, 2000
Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture

What is it about high-school overachievers that gets the goat of movie directors these days? Full Review

January 1, 2000
Arizona Republic

A high school comedy with an unusual perspective and much to offer people who like to think while they laugh.

Henry Cabot Beck
January 1, 2000
Henry Cabot Beck,

It showed promise and considerable competence.

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Election Trivia

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