Honor Student (2014)


I’m not going to pretend I enjoyed “Honor Student” if only because the movie is so inexplicable and miserable it’s tough to pinpoint what it’s going for. I watched it twice and spent my time scratching my head as to what it was trying to get across and what in the world the finale meant, if anything.

It’s seemingly the life of a young woman who spends her days wiling life away at a bargain bin store, working her butt off, and comes home to wait for the next day where she can seemingly waste her life away. Told through a montage and series of scenes without any dialogue, “Honor Student” hops along conveying a narrative that’s nearly impossible to decipher. Is it a tale about the woes of poverty? Is it a tale about the woes of the lower class? Is there some kind of sanctimonious message about the economy here? And what in the world did the final scene even mean?

Was that the daughter of the woman who she’d forgotten in her everyday tedium? Was she the younger version of the woman sparing herself a lifetime of nonsense and nothingness? It’s never explained and frankly the finale feels utterly gratuitous and unnecessary. “Honor Student” really feels like a missed opportunity, as somewhere here there’s an interesting story tucked away. It’s just lost in a lot of aimless scenery and montages. Koontz is a strong director who paints the misery of life well. I just wish “Honor Student” carried his talent in to a meaningful and interesting narrative.