Honor Society (2022) – Review, issues analyzed and explanation of the ending: The seeming finality of rejections: Just like its protagonist, Honor Society released on Paramount+ is neat and intelligent. Director Oren Zegman and writer David A. Goodman (“Family Guy”) collaborated to produce a wacky and self-aware story that works as both a high school drama and dark comedy with the fast-paced narrative of a heist movie. Led by an unfailing performance by Angourie Rice as Honor, this perpetually breaking fourth-wall film barely misses a beat in its pulse-pounding exploration of the grueling competition that goes hand-in-hand with education these days.
Honor Society (2022) plot synopsis and movie synopsis:
Honor Rose (Rice) has only one goal in her senior year. To get to Harvard. By bending and breaking. This is her coveted escape ticket from the city she is staying in, which she considers unworthy. Her determined efforts to avoid mediocrity have led her to master karate, excel in all her school subjects, participate in fundraisers, and even sweat it out on the basketball court. It’s not that she’s particularly passionate about these, but they are the means to follow her passion. Which, in turn, means not being branded as mediocre by getting into Harvard.
To do so, Honor has to team up with 30-something consultant Mr. Calvin (Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse from “Superbad”). For Honor, there is nothing dishonorable in her quest to Harvard. Calvin has an ace up his sleeve here with his Harvard alumni friend. For that simple reason, for that one letter of recommendation from Calvin, Honor not only gives butter to the seedy music enthusiast, but also puts up with his inappropriate remarks and offers.
However, even after all that, Honor finds that she’s still not Calvin’s all-time favorite to get the recommendation she wants. Three other candidates are in the running. The antisocial but literally brilliant Kennedy (Amy Keum), who dresses up as a historical figure every day but has literally zero friends, the high school heartthrob and the great gym-and-a-student Travis (Armani Jackson); and the shy and reserved ‘Dr. Who’ fan Michael (‘Stranger Things’ Gate Matarazzo).
So Honor does what brilliant but scheming high achievers generally do. Sabotage through manipulation. Honor befriends Kennedy and discovers her interest in becoming a playwright. With some clever maneuvers, she tricks the play written by Kennedy into being the play that will be adapted for the school theater company’s next production. She quickly finds out that despite his machismo and pretty girlfriend, Travis is secretly gay and has an interest in Gary (Ben Jackson Walker), the flamboyantly gay and fastidious leader of the same theater company. So Honor plans to get Travis to star in Kennedy’s play.
Honor’s plan to thoroughly engage her competitors in things they’d love so they’d slack on their midterms was showing early results with all but one exception. Michael seems to be the toughest nut. In addition to befriending him, Honor easily seduces him and gets him involved in the will-they-will-not-them dynamic. Not only does Michael show no signs of regression in his academic abilities, Honor himself seems to be attracted to him, despite her initial reluctance.
Honor Society (2022) Review and Topics Analyzed:
Mental health with rejections
Debbie Lum’s documentary “Try Harder!”, selected by Sundance last year, would be a great companion to this film. The more serious-toned documentary deftly focuses on college admission and the dream-shattering heartbreak that comes with it. It examines the seeming finality of rejection and the toll it takes on every young student’s mental health. As with Try Harder, Goodman’s story attempts to provide a glimmer of hope beyond denial, albeit in a much more comedic way. The pathetic fear of missing out on excellence with the terrifying possibility of being “average” is negated by Honor’s cheerful acceptance, which absolves the alleged “mediocrity” of her life.
Angourie Rice electrifies in her role with just the right amount of sympathy. We’re not exactly meant to root for her, but her confident, fourth-wall-breaking presence has just enough twinkle in her eyes that one can’t help but want her honor to fail in her plans as well. The rest of the cast doesn’t let up either. Zegman and editor Anita Brandt Burgoyne also show a sure trust in their scene construction, without which breaking the fourth wall would not have been a seamless facet of the film.
Honor Society (2022) Movie Ending Explained: Why Does Honor Change Her Mind?
After watching Michael get into a house in the shadier part of town, Honor asks him about it. Michael tells her that he lives in a nursing home. That’s when Honor begins to question her predetermined plans. To her own annoyance, she starts caring for Michael. And like Travis and Kennedy, Honor begins to contemplate the previously unfathomable possibility of life without great grades. Honor’s change of heart is confirmed when she doesn’t drug Michael before midterm day, despite her intentions.
Was Michael just pretending the whole time?
As a result, Michael wins the contest for Calvin’s letter of recommendation, which Honor doesn’t seem to mind anymore. She is much happier in a relationship with Michael. However, the story delivers its final twist. After the midterm exam, Michael avoids her. When Honor goes to the nursing home, she gradually begins to take the truth-finding path. Michael lied to her about living in a nursing home. Instead, he lives with his parents in a much grander house.
Michael admits, in his own words, that he is not a nice person. Breaking the conventional genre trope of geeky and bullied introverts is always good. He simply wanted to go to Harvard, and in doing so earned Honor’s care and pity by inventing the story of life in a nursing home. The house he visited is not a nursing home, it belongs to his maid. Meanwhile, Honor attempted to sabotage others, unaware that she was also a target of Michael’s for sabotage.
Who gets the Harvard spot?
Heartbroken, Honor quickly finds solace in the forms of her newfound friends. Kennedy, Travis, Gary and other theater students are quick to show Honor what she’s accomplished. She made Kennedy find her passion and Travis accept his own truth. Watching them, Honor also realizes that true passion and friendships cannot be sabotaged.
In doing so, she regains her former zeal. She reveals that she previously took in Calvin’s one of the more obvious sexual suggestions. She had planned to take advantage of this by blackmailing Calvin into giving her the letter of recommendation. She collects that. However, she is not asking for herself, but for Kennedy. It’s obvious Calvin had no choice but to listen to Honor, so Kennedy gets the Harvard spot. And if we don’t get a sequel where Kennedy turns out to be a mastermind with a grand plan to be antisocial, she’s getting it for credit.