Election (1999)

Let’s address the elephant in the room—or, perhaps, the ass donkey. This film is going to remind you of the 2016 presidential election, and I doubt you’ll mind. It has an anti-establishment candidate who gets cut, a celebrity running off his own popularity, and a blonde female who has been working towards this her entire life. Oh, and a third party that tries desperately to meddle with the results. Same thing, right?

Election is the second film by Alexander Payne, one of my favorite directors (he directed The Descendants with George Clooney and Nebraska with Bruce Dern). It centers around Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde), a painfully determined high schooler running for student council president, but what most people don’t know is that she had an affair with one of her teachers, and it cost him his career. So, standing in her way is Mr. McAllister (Matthew Broderick, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), a friend of that man who wants this girl to be cut down to size. Mr. McAllister arranges for an injured former quarterback to run for the spot, and before long the boy’s sister is running too.

Without getting into too many details, there is some clear election tampering that goes on in this film, and nobody comes out of it in one piece. It’s really a bit of a nail-biter, if I may say so myself, kind of like watching the polls go up and down as each ballot is counted, having no idea who’s going to win. And, as it’s set in high school, everything is more cutthroat than it would ever be in real life (or is it?).

Director Payne adds a lot of quirk and character to this film, reminding me a lot of Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, and in the best ways. If you’re a fan of anyone involved, you’ll love Election; and with the real-life imitation coming soon, there’s never been a better time to make your opinions heard.

3 Green

Election is available on Amazon Prime Video.

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