Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
Watch On
  1. With Election, Payne announces himself as one of the keenest purveyors of the scattered pieces that once was an American morality.
  2. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    100
    An invigoratingly mordant comedy that proves that Alexander Payne's rambunctious debut, "Citizen Ruth," was no fluke.
  3. 88
    Alexander Payne is a director whose satire is omnidirectional. He doesn't choose an easy target and march on it. He stands in the middle of his story and attacks on all directions.
  4. The actors are solid at every position, but Broderick, who seems to get better with each performance, is especially good at playing the impulsively self-destructive yet sympathetic loser.
  5. 88
    Election has the sharpest satire of any teen movie made in years. Like the best lampoons, it attacks by exaggerating reality ever-so-slightly and targeting a broad range of subjects.
  6. The screenplay by Payne and Jim Taylor, based on the novel by Tom Perrotta, sees the lives of these suburban students and teachers through a prism of absurdity that refracts more truth than any straightforward telling.
  7. At best, the humour in Election is perceptive, nasty, pointed, and lets no one off its barbed hook, not even the audience. In other words, it's a lovely piece of satire, made all the more relevant by the setting.
  8. Broderick and Witherspoon give perfectly matched performances at the head of a first-rate cast.
  9. 70
    Surprise! An intelligent, well-written high school story.
  10. 78
    A fine, near-seamless film that finally suffers slightly from an inability to wrap up its tale.
  11. Alexander Payne's scathing, subtle, and complexly funny tragicomedy builds a perfect, off-kilter universe--it's a first cousin to "Rushmore."
  12. 100
    This is a nearly flawless little film, a cheerful nightmare that knows just where it wants to go and uses precisely calibrated comic effects to get there.
  13. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    100
    American satire rarely comes more winning than Election, an exuberantly caustic comedy that shows the symbiotic relationship between political go-get-'em-ism and moral backsliding.
  14. 100
    The satire of the season, a hilarious, razor-sharp indictment of the American Dream.
  15. 100
    A wonderful, piercing and hilarious examination of high school politics and how bitter and ruinous it can become.
  16. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Brandishes the sort of intelligent wit and bracing nastiness that will make it more appealing to discerning adults than to teens who just want to have fun.
  17. Wickedly funny, an ode to youthful overachievers that's as blackhearted as "Rushmore" was gently sentimental.
  18. 80
    Witherspoon's broad, obsessive comic performance is bound to get the most attention, but Broderick does the best work of his career, finding an affecting spot between the all-purpose defiance of Ferris Bueller and the put-upon foil of his recent work.
  19. Reviewed by: Janet Maslin
    80
    Election is a deft dark comedy with a resemblance to "Rushmore." It's smart no matter what.
  20. 70
    Election is finally, necessarily, as much about sex as it is about politics -- wanting it, getting it, losing it.
  21. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    70
    Director Payne, who adapted Tom Perrotta's novel with Jim Taylor, has an authentically dire view of human behavior, which he expresses in crisp, edgy and sometimes startlingly raunchy style.
  22. 70
    The treatment of this touchy material is impressive, neither gratuitous nor mincing, but this satirical comedy doesn't really go anywhere.
  23. 50
    The film never finds a confident tone: it's pitched as a satire, but seems to have no real targets.
  24. A terrific work of political and social satire set in a Nebraska high school that has the intelligence of (the less coherent) "Rushmore," while painting a much darker picture of politics and human relationships.
  25. 88
    When it comes to eloquently telling it like it is, Election puts the nation's political pundits to shame.
  26. Reviewed by: Marc Caro
    63
    Entertaining but frustratingly uneven.
  27. 90
    Election is a bracingly intelligent adult comedy that shrewdly captures adolescence.
  28. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    100
    One of the funniest, shrewdest, smartest movies in recent memory.
  29. 90
    Resonates with the fluorescent horror of real-life high school, something few movies about this generation have managed to successfully capture.
  30. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    90
    Wickedly funny, scathingly original new comedy.
  31. 70
    Happily, this irreverent, sharply observant comedy sweeps us into the maelstrom too. Amid the glut of teen movies rolling out of the studios every week, Election deserves special attention.
  32. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 101 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 24
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 24
  3. Negative: 2 out of 24
  1. Jul 13, 2014
    10
    Election is a spot on movie about elections, characters and black comedy mixed in for fun. The actors
    give great lines and they feel like
    Election is a spot on movie about elections, characters and black comedy mixed in for fun. The actors
    give great lines and they feel like their the character's, they don't seem like they are acting when you watch the movie. Election is one of the best comedy-dramas of the last twenty years !
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 23, 2010
    10
    Rigged: Routines and Dreams in Alexander Payneâ
  3. Feb 19, 2012
    9
    This movie is so great and unique! I am not particularly fond of Matthew Broderick, and he is really detestable in this movie, but he plays aThis movie is so great and unique! I am not particularly fond of Matthew Broderick, and he is really detestable in this movie, but he plays a douche bag to perfection. Reese Witherspoon is also on point. Seriously, this movie is an unusual treat. I can't really compare it to anything else I have seen. Full Review »