Characteristics of Tracy Flick and Jim McAllister
Election (1999) film is a comedy film version of the 1998 novel titled Election by Tom Perrotta. Election is one of the most recognized best films in America and beyond having received several awards including the best actress award, best film award and best screenplay award.
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Election as a comedy film depicts high school life in the suburban presented through politics and school election race. The film narrates the success struggle story between Jim McAllister, a popular high school teacher in, suburban Omaha Nebraska and Tracy Flick, a student in the same school, featured in student body elections. McAllister is involved with several school-related functions in order to forget his frustrations with other aspects of his life like marriage.
Tracy, an overachiever carries the obsession of joining a good college after completing her high school education and is willing to go any length to achieve her goals. She is brought out in Election as an over-ambitious, vindictive and manipulative character. At the beginning of the film, Tracy is involved with her teacher, Dave, who ended up suffering the consequences as he is fired from his job and his wife divorces him as well. In the contrary, Tracy gets away scot-free with no punishment.
Instead, Tracy is nominated for class president in the school election, a gesture that annoys McAllister given that she made Dave, McAllister’s friend, lost his job. So he tries his best to stop her from winning by introducing another candidate in the race as she was set to run unopposed. According to him, Tracy has to be taught a lesson. Paul Metzer, a polite football player, becomes Tracy’s opponent not because he wanted to participate in election, but rather because of circumstances.
He broke his leg and was thus unable to play at that time so McAllister took the advantage to convince him to register for election. Tracy’s malicious behavior is farther shown one day when she tries putting up one of her posters, but accidentally tears it. In return, she vented her anger in Paul’s campaign posters and destroys all of them.
When confronted about it the next day, she claims innocence and even threatens to sue the school for false accusations. She knows that if she’s found out she might be withdrawn from the race or even be expelled and she can’t afford that. In a twist of events, Tammy, Paul’s sister, takes the blame for Tracy’s actions. Tammy being kicked out of school doesn’t deter Tracy a little bit, despite the fact that it’s her fault.
Tracy finally emerges the winner in elections, only because Paul voted for her. She finally gets accepted into Georgetown University; hence her dream of getting into a good college is fulfilled.
Unlike Tracy, Jim McAllister is a devoted teacher as he’s involved in the school elections. His dislike for Tracy is quite evident especially when she ruined Dave’s career. Tracy’s nomination for class president makes him set out to crash her dreams. He convinces Paul to run against Tracy.
He still loses against Tracy because Paul votes for Tracy. He’s angered by this since he spots her dancing excitedly. As a way of making her lose elections, McAllister secretly discarded two of Tracy’s ballots then demands a recount of the votes. Paul is, therefore, declared the winner, but not for long as a janitor finds the two discarded ballots and gives them to the principal. This leads to McAllister resigning from his job.
Jim is obviously repulsed by Tracy’s affair with Dave, but he is no different as he’s attracted to another woman, Linda, who he kisses passionately. Linda sets him up by asking him to rent a motel, and then she goes to see his wife.
Divorced, jobless and humiliated, he leaves Nebraska for New York where he gets a job as a tour guide. Jim sees Tracy getting into a limousine with a politician while in New York. Remembering the evils Tracy has done to get where she is, the memory annoys him so he throws a soda cup at the limousine, then dashes away.
As the film comes to an end, Jim is giving a tour to some children. As he asks them questions, he intentionally ignores one girl who obviously knows the answers just because she reminds him of Tracy. Jim detests Tracy from the start of the film until the end and hates anyone who reminds him of her as shown in the last scene. Jim also comes out as a hypocrite. He hates Tracy’s malicious character, yet he’s no different as explained above.
In the end, Tracy wins regardless of how she makes her way through. She achieves everything she desired: going to a good college and having a good life as she keeps company with the high and mighty of the society. On the other hand Jim, who dislikes Tracy because of her character, is disappointed. He loses his teaching job and his marriage.