Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Honor List: Movie Review

Very slow build to something more meaningful.

The Honor List stars Sasha Pieterse, Meghan Rienks and Karrueche Tan as three former best friends brought together after the fourth friend (Honor) dies. The beginning is reminiscent of Pretty Little Liars but the film is toned down into something a lot more real with no thriller/mystery element. It’s just three high school girls and a few mini adventures.   2018

Directed by: Elissa Down

Screenplay by: Marilyn Fu

Starring: Sasha Pieterse, Meghan Rienks, Karrueche Tan

It takes awhile for the story to get going. Three friends decide to perform Honor’s bucket list together, but for the first half, that is very uneventful. It’s just three girls who kind of like each other but kind of don’t because something obviously happened to piss them off but most viewers aren’t going to care enough about why they stopped being friends. It also feels like it should be a comedy, but it’s not, just pure drama.

The three girls are very plain, very average; which is good for the relatability aspect but not so good for the drama of the film. Some viewers will lose interest before Honor’s bucket list finally gets to something interesting and something that has real emotional weight to it: the girls have to try out for the school cheerleading club. On the surface this doesn’t sound like much, but the film brought all of the little tidbits thrown around earlier and meshed them into an engrossing storyline.

Isabella is not exactly thin, and I was perfectly happy with that not being a storyline or even something that didn’t have to be mentioned, but that very much does matter to high school girls. She was kicked out of the cheerleading club for not being skinny enough, and the three of them take revenge. It’s not even dark, cinematic revenge, more like real life revenge, and I was riveted.

Eventually the three girls become interesting; finally Honor’s list has something worthwhile to do and the film has something meaningful to say. It took awhile to get here, but the girls’ friendship has some interesting complexities, their romantic interests have emotional weight, and there’s even a hint of an entertaining plot.

The Honor List is very indie in its sensibilities, more so than might be expected given the cast and initial storyline and it takes a long time to get going. But when it does, it turns into a nice story of three girls trying to survive high school.

Bucket list movies frequently feel a little thrown together, with scenes that don’t build to a greater whole and that’s certainly true for the first half, but it does come together by the end.