review by Bobby Blakey
Throughout the years there have been a ton of films focusing on high school and kids trying to plan schemes, turn the tables, etc. When done right they make for some great entertainment. The latest, Honor Society starring Angourie Rice, Gaten Matarazzo, Christopher Minz-Plasse, Armani Jackson, and Amy Keum from Oran Zegman looks to do something fresh with the genre, but does it have that special something or will it fail to make the grade?
Honor Society follows Honor, an ambitious high school senior whose sole focus is getting into Harvard, assuming she can first score the coveted recommendation from her guidance counselor, Mr. Calvin. Willing to do whatever it takes, Honor concocts a Machiavellian-like plan to take down her top three student competitors, until things take a turn when she unexpectedly falls for her biggest competition, Michael.
One of the things about these kinds of films they tend to follow a very specific formula that often times can pretty easily be figured out. This film offers up a very similar direction, but surprisingly takes some interesting turns to help it not only stand out as something new as well as something familiar. I was pretty surprised to how much I ended up enjoying this film with the entire thing featuring an ongoing narration from star Rice breaking the fourth wall with the audience.
As the film plays out and her plans are set into motion it looked like yet another clever way of telling the same old story, but then something special happened and it did something way more compelling. It walks a line dealing with the façade that we as people, especially when younger trying to find yourself, put on in life as well as the concern, pain and joy of finding yourself. The cast are all great with Rice leading the charge making for what initially appears as the usual snob, but is quickly revealed as so much more. Stranger Things fan favorite Matarazzo gets to bring his lovable charm to the role
while still getting to be a different kind of character that is fun to watch.
Both Rice and Matarazzo have great chemistry, but that goes for the rest of cast as well. Everyone gets their moment to shine and you can really feel the evolution, both good and bad, as the story unfolds. There are some fun and for some unexpected twists and turns in the third act that make it all the better of a film and one I enjoyed way more than I had expected to and hope everyone checks it out.
Decide for yourself and check out Honor Society streaming now exclusively on Paramount+.