A Question of Ethics
Review by Ross Anthony

Here's a movie that raises a question of ethics (or is it morals). Either way, the film steps all over such ideals, perhaps in hopes of redefining them. Appropriately, it ended up poking me with an ethical dilemma: a film with such excellent direction, acting, dialogue and humor, deserves high marks from a reviewer; but my own sense of morality (regarding it's subject matter) is holding me back from giving it the grade.

Allow me to clarify. The director of "Election" pays so close attention to detail that he makes you feel like you're a participant in the film. The timing of the editing is flawless. The script's dialogue is completely real, riddled with the knocks and pings of everyday, high school population stutters and stops. The acting ... appropriately straight on the money. And it's funny. I was laughing, we were all laughing.

When Miss senior over-achiever discovers that her plans to become class president are being challenged ... her prissy face loses it's smile and a primal scream rings out over her closed mouth expression.

But the topic isn't just the election, it's infidelity and statutory rape for starters -- involving students and/or teachers. Perhaps I'm not alone when I say that kind of thing makes me feel uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong -- I'm okay with being uncomfortable during part of a film -- especially if it's an investment toward a larger goal. But, I felt uncomfortable for nearly the duration of this tremendously well put together piece. Nor, did I feel resolved about it at the end. So, I think you see the dilemma.

I'm going to be weak. I'm going to let my intangible, perhaps unjustifiable feelings regarding specifically the touchy topics, prevent me from giving it an 'A'. Forgive me.

Starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon.
Directed by Alexander Payne.
Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor.
Produced by Jacobus Rose and Jim Burke at MTV and Paramount.
Rated R.


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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:11:50 PDT