Honor Society Review – Angourie Rice graduated with honors

Summary

Angourie Rice graduated with honors in comedy that evolves from pissed off to winner.

This Paramount + Honor Society movie review contains no spoilers.

Paramount Movie + honor society revolves around a young and ambitious student, Honor Rose (Angourie Rice). She dreams of getting out of her boring town and going to Harvard. Honor is not naive. She knows her grades don’t guarantee her entry. Only less than five percent of applicants succeed. Thus, she has been playing the long con since her first year. It was then that she found out that her guidance counselor, Mr. Calvin – played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who has carved out a niche for himself playing perverted scumbags lately – has a best friend who is a graduate .

Honor is the Kathryn Merteuil type. So when she learns that her advisor has her top four picks to recommend to her boyfriend, one of them being her, she prepares for battle. A master of deduction, she assumes that the other three must be part of her honor society. One is Kennedy, a dark, artsy student with no friends who is obsessed with grades because of her parents. Another is Travis, a star lacrosse player who hides the secret that he is gay. And the last one is Michael (The Stranger Thing Gaten Matarazzo), a nerd who loves Doctor Who and lives with her adoptive mother after her parents died years before. Yes, Honor wants to slaughter those poor heartless saps.

Director Oran Zegman (wedding material) the script begins to excel as it transitions from the first to the second act. There, Rice’s Honor evolves from cold, cynical, and manipulative to warm and tender, allowing her guard to drop. The screenplay by veteran television writer David A. Goodman (Futurama, the golden girls) allows the first act to be very funny, even edgy, and we see Honor gradually discover that there are more important things than her need to succeed if others fail. With each manipulation, the life of its target begins to improve. The movie gets warm as we see Honor’s heart start to thaw unexpectedly. There are some lovely lines and comedic observations about modern teenage life. For example, when Mr. Calvin of Mintz-Plass hands out flyers, an Honor staff member says, “A flyer is like a tweet that destroys the environment. I will tweet this!

And that credit goes to Angourie Rice, as she graduates from a comedy that goes from pissed off to winner. The young actor we’ve seen in such great movies and TV shows as Easttown Mare and The good ones has no trouble switching between a cold and bright adolescence. She is a pleasure to watch. Even watching Matarazzo break slightly from his nerd filmography reputation and show off a rare, moxie charm is refreshing, if not somewhat unbelievable, as they develop a romantic relationship.

That being said, honor society is a cute little comedy about coming of age. (Trust me, it’s not the YA movie some movie critics claim it’s becoming). There are a few issues, mostly in the third act. If Honor had the dark edge claimed by the film, this film could have been a short because she could blackmail Mr. Calvin in the first five minutes with her invitations and sexual innuendos. The main plot point of the film is obvious as it has no other place to go.

These are small quibbles. We shouldn’t pressure movies to be completely groundbreaking, because they just need to be well-made and entertaining at the same time, especially ones like this that find their hearts in the right place. The real reward is seeing Rice’s Honor go from cynical to a young woman who is now gullible. I’m sure Brendan Fraser would say she’s now graduated with honors.

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