Election (1999) is a wonderful movie by Alexander Payne, adapted from the novel written by Tom Perotta. To be honest, I’m having a pretty good time with my Intro to Film class. If you get a chance to take one, I encourage you to do so. Not only does it help you to get familiar with some classics movies that people talk about all the time, all these great movies are popular for a reason – they are telling you something important, about life and how we should look at them.

There are a couple of major themes in the movie. Tracy Flick, who is an overachiever and tries to get as much attention as she can possibly get by taking up leadership roles in every possible clubs and organizations in her high school, strikes me the most. From time to time, we see such kind of person who tends to make everything perfect, works super-duper hard for her dreams and seems to be enjoying life a lot more than her counterparts. But what’s deep down there in their heart? The irony for Tracy is that, despite her active involvement in various activities and achievement in every field, she does not have real friends, and nobody signs on her yearbook, even though she is the editor creating the souvenir for the class. Achievers like her are lonely, because, on one hand, they tend to have some dictatorship tendencies and underestimate the values of slowing down and looking around the world. On the other hand, they don’t find it important to build a friendship/constructive relationship with others since they don’t share a common interest/ambition anyways. Tracy see little value in friends to help in her success. In other words, friends are only used as means to an end.

Let’s think about the “shining stars” in the entertainment industry or on Wall Street. Many are having a “great life” and earning big bucks. But among them, how many are truly enjoying themselves and not the slaves of a “golden handcuff” or materialism? What about us? What do we want to achieve? Where we are going? And most importantly, WHY? Is it going to do us good, or are we simply chasing an imagery oasis in a desert where we’ve already lost our way?

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