Paramount+ is new in the direct-to-streaming movie game, but they have recently made an excellent addition to their growing collection. Honor Society is a fourth-wall-breaking, coming-of-age tale that follows high school senior Honor (Angourie Rice) who wishes for nothing more than to escape her small town. She has everything about her life and future planned to perfection in order to guarantee her success. Her guidance counselor (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) can choose only one person to recommend to his Harvard connection for acceptance, and her determination to succeed leads her to manipulate her three competitors and distract them from their upcoming midterm–the last major grade that the Harvard admissions will use as criteria. As Honor is supposed to be distracting Michael Dipnicky (Gaten Matarazzo), she finds herself the one distracted, and she begins questioning herself and opening her eyes to the world around her.
I was delighted at how the film went about its premise. While the destination of the movie may not be surprising, the journey to get there is. It also feels like a rather genuine portrayal of high schoolers; there is a good balance between young adult situations and childhood behavior. While stereotypes might be a convention of teen films, I found Honor Society struck a good balance between including them but not making the characters archetypes. IParat was so easy to fall in love with everyone because they felt like real people. On a side note, the name Harvard is thrown around so casually in teen films. It is an easy way to confer the intellect of the character or the height of their ambition. In Honor Society, I actually believe that these characters vying for a spot could actually be accepted into Harvard, which is so refreshing.
Angourie Rice is a wonderful addition to the group of young actors in Hollywood right now. Between Honor Society, Senior Year, and The Nice Guys, she has an impressive resumé of comedy films under her belt, not to mention her roles in Mare of Easttown and Black Mirror. All that, combined with her role as Betty Brant in the MCU Spider-Man films, makes it clear to see her future in this industry is bright. Gaten Matarazzo is charming and effortless, and the film is able to capitalize on the fact his characters are always the smartest in the room. He is great in his first major film role, other than Dustin Henderson on Stranger Things.
Honor Society is a great addition to the teen movie genre. It is fun and stylish, and the breaking of the fourth wall does not take away from the story, but adds flair, thanks to Rice’s excellent performance. Though the summer movie season is still up and running, if you want to enjoy an evening at home, Honor Society is a nice and light film under 100 minutes to sit back, relax, and watch.
Honor Society is now streaming on Paramount+.