Election (1999)

ALEXANDER PAYNE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.5.  USA, 1999.  Bona Fide Productions, MTV Films, Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by Alexander Payne, , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1999.  Golden Globe Awards 1999.  Independent Spirit Awards 1999National Board of Review Awards 1999.  New York Film Critics Awards 1999.

Brilliant satire that narrows down the hot American political arena to a high school election for SAC president. This isn’t to say that anything is less complicated or dangerous than a real presidential election of course, not when you have cutthroat candidate Tracy Flick () who is planning on winning no matter what. is the exasperated teacher who lives for his job but just can’t stand this overly anxious student who refuses to give up. He decides to take it upon himself morally to stand in her way of success and what results is a battle of wills that never lets up until the bitter end. Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor’s adaptation of the novel by Tom Perrotta is seamlessly written, and Payne’s direction gives the film an even and perfectly-paced rhythm. Much of the film’s success, though, is owed to the unbeatable performance by Witherspoon, who never overdoes her character’s mannerisms and tantrums so as to render her in any way false.  Though its marketing campaigned aimed the film at young audiences, this was the highest critically-rated film of the year in any category.

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