There are no spoilers in this review of the Honor Society movie from Paramount.
Paramount Pictures Honor Rose, a young and aspirational student, is the focus of Honor Society (Angourie Rice). She longs to leave her dull hometown and attend Harvard. Respect is not naive. Although she has good grades, admission is not guaranteed. Only fewer than 5% of candidates succeed in doing that. She has thus been pulling the long con since her first year of college. She discovered Mr. Calvin, her guidance counselor, had a graduate best buddy at that point. Mr. Calvin is played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who lately has carved out a career playing perverted scumbags.
Honor resembles Kathryn Merteuil. She so prepares for war when she learns that she is one of her counselor’s top four recommendations for his friend. She is an expert at deduction, so she assumes that the other three must be members of her honor society. One is Kennedy, a shy, artsy girl who is obsessed with grades because of her parents. Kennedy also has no friends. Another is Travis, a talented lacrosse player who keeps his sexual orientation a secret. Last but not least is geeky Doctor Who fan Michael (Stranger Things’ Gaten Matarazzo), who now resides with his foster mother after losing both of his parents many years ago. Yes, Honor wants to brutally destroy these helpless fools.
As the first act gives way to the second, the script by Marriage Material director Oran Zegman starts to shine. At that point, Rices Honor transforms from being icy, cynical, and manipulative to being warm and sensitive, letting her guard down. The opening act of Honor is quite hilarious, even edgy thanks to the script by seasoned television writer David A. Goodman (Golden Girls, Futurama), and you gradually see Honor realize there are things more important than her need to succeed if others fail. The lives of her prey get better with each manipulation. As we unexpectedly witness Honor’s heart start to unfreeze, the movie takes a heartwarming turn. There are several lovely passages and humorous observations on contemporary adolescent life. For instance, a member of the Honors squad remarks that flyers are like tweets that damage the environment when Mintz-Plasss Mr. Calvin distributes them. I’ll tweet about that!
Angourie Rice, who plays the protagonist, deserves all the credit for this comedy’s flawless transition from edgy to successful. The young actor who appeared in excellent movies and television dramas like Mare of Easttown and The Nice Guys is adept at switching between adolescence’s dark and brilliant phases. She is delightful to watch. Even seeing Matarazzo buck some of the stereotypes associated with his nerdy filmography and display some uncommon charm and moxie as they become romantically involved is energizing, if not a little unrealistic.
Honor Society, then, is a cute little coming-of-age comedy. (Trust me; this is not a YA film as some critics have claimed.) A few problems exist, mostly in the final act. If Honor had the sinister side that the movie suggests, she might have used Mr. Calvin’s invitations and sexual innuendo to blackmail him in the first five minutes, turning this into a short film. Given that the plot of the movie can go nowhere other, the key plot point is obvious.
These are petty complaints. It is sufficient for movies to be done well and entertaining at the same time; especially those like this one with the correct heart. We shouldn’t put pressure on movies to be fully innovative. Watching Rices Honor change from being sceptical to a young woman who is now gullible is the ultimate payoff. Brendan Fraser would undoubtedly claim that she has now earned an honors degree.
What did you think of the Honor Society movie from Paramount? Comment below.
You can watch this film with a subscription to Paramount .