Bringing Tracy Flick to Life

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Dec 19, 2017

Alexander Payne’s whip-smart political satire Election tells the tale of a knock-down, drag-out campaign for student-body president, as a teacher (Matthew Broderick) plots to undermine a seeming shoo-in (Reese Witherspoon) who has gotten under his skin. In the years since the political satire’s 1999 release, the candidate who finds herself suddenly embattled, Tracy Flick, has gone on to achieve a kind of iconic status, earning a place in the pop-cultural consciousness as the textbook overachiever. This is, of course, a testament to Witherspoon’s masterful performance, in which the actor makes Tracy’s determination and sense of entitlement readily apparent in every flared nostril and overly perky utterance. In the above clip, taken from an interview included on our edition of Election, Witherspoon discusses her close collaboration with Payne and how it resulted in some of the film’s most memorable moments.