5 Plot Point Breakdown: Election (1999)

By Xiaofeng Chen · October 19, 2014

Screenplay Genre: Comedy / Drama

Movies Time: 102 minutes

Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) is a teacher at Carver High School and advisor to every student in his class, except Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon): an ambitious and proud peacock, who is stepping on people to get what she wants. And Jim has a grudge against her regarding an immoral relationship with his friend: Math teacher Dave Novotny (Mark Harelik). This sparking a series of relationship and career blunders.


Now Tracy is aiming to become the president of the student council. She has gotten enough signatures to be a candidate and so far she has no rival in the school. (16:47) This makes Jim feel she is abusing Carver for her own selfish good and he’s got to stop her! So he decides to bring in Paul Metzler (Chris Klein): a dim-witted, but kind, football star. Paul is undergoing a mental crisis due to a skiing accident that sidelined him from playing football, the one thing he is great at and known for being great at.

2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

Jim persuades Paul to run for the Student Council President. (23:46) Paul is very popular in the students and becomes a strong rival against Tracy. This makes Tracy angry and jealous. Pual’s sister Tammy (Jessica Campbell) is a lesbian and hates Paul because he took her lover Lisa (Frankie Ingrassia) away. So she cuts in the election to disturb Paul’s campaign. Now there are three candidates and it is bound to be a hell of an election!

On the speech day, the three candidates make their campaign speeches to the student body (the voters). Tracy and Paul do it well, but Tammy screws it up by her outrageousness. Her candidacy is canceled.

Jim has always been in love with Dave’s ex-wife Linda (Delaney Driscoll), but Linda is a decent lady and, in the beginning, simply wants to be ONLY friends.


On a weekend night, Tracy stays in the school to work on her campaign. She sees her posters drop off the wall and can’t fix them. Tracy goes crazy and has now officially lost it. She blames it on Paul and tears all his posters down. Nobody sees it, but Tammy witnesses Tracy hiding the torn down posters in the trashcans at the power plant.

This event becomes a “Postergate” for Carver. The school authority decides to catch the one who breaks the rules. Jim knows it was Tracy. He tries to talk with her and tell her what a big mistake she has made. But Tracy strongly denies she had something to do with it. And Tammy comes to confess she did it! (59:05) Because she wants to leave Carver and go to the catholic school to meet some “new friends.” Tammy is expelled and Tracy luckiy becomes an innocent victim.

Jim screws his relationship up with Linda and his wife Diane (Molly Hagan) gets to know it. He gets caught red-handed.

4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

Polling day comes and something unbelievable happens: Paul votes for Tracy, not himself. In the end, Tracy squeaks by with just one vote! Jim wants to do something to chage it so he throws away two votes for Tracy into the trashcan and declares that Paul is the winner! (81:40) Tracy is beyond devastated.


The votes Jim threw away are found by the angry Janitor. Jim becomes the Nixon in Carver. (88:04) He loses his job and wife and moves to New York. There he starts his new life. Sometimes he remembers Tracy, and he sees there are always people like her making their “successes” the way she did.

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