Review: Is being a Tall Girl really that bad?

Rich, pretty white girl's only "flaw" is being too tall

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Review: Is being a Tall Girl really that bad?

The poster for Netflix's new movie

The poster for Netflix's new movie "Tall Girl."

The poster for Netflix's new movie "Tall Girl."

The poster for Netflix's new movie "Tall Girl."

Hanna Malone, Staff Member

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Netflix’s new original movie, Tall Girl, follows Jodi (played by Ava Michelle): a 6’1″ teenager with a serious insecurity about her height. All her life she had been tormented by the comment, “How’s the weather up there?” and other allusions to her tall stature. Still, as I watched the movie, I had a hard time feeling sympathetic towards Jodi’s struggle.

In spite of her angst over her height, Jodi is talented, super pretty, rich and has a caring older sister and two loyal friends who stand up for her and encourage her to embrace the “real Jodi” throughout the entire plot. The main character has no true flaws or shortcomings, but the film itself does.

Tall Girl gives  Jodi an especially hard time in the dating scene. She’s taller than the majority of the male population at her high school and felt as though the pool was severely narrowed by this factor. Which didn’t make sense, because boys were still clearly attracted to her.

In the opening scene, Jodi is in a library, sitting at a table reading some sort of philosophical novel. At the table next to her sits a rather charming looking guy, reading the same book. The two engage in lighthearted conversation from their spots at opposite tables, and as Jodi begins to gather her things to leave the library, the guy starts to ask her out. Before he can do so, Jodi stands up to her feet, standing at her full height. What really stuck out about this scene was the look of utter horror that sprawled across the boy’s face when he realized, ‘oh no, she’s taller than me!”.

Perhaps he was intimidated, or has a certain mindset that the male is supposed to be the taller, stronger one in the relationship. Of course, maybe he just prefers shorter girls. But shouldn’t we as people be more concerned with the person’s actual personality and values in a relationship? Also, judging by Jodi’s facial expression after the incident, it was clear that this definitely was not the first time something like that had happened. However, instead of this being looked at as the boy’s fault for losing interest because of something so shallow, it was viewed as her own for being “too tall.” How could she possibly have stunted her own height? It’s simply a natural and unpreventable genetic feature.

Despite this, later in the movie’s plot line Jodi actually ends up in the middle of a love triangle. Shocking, right?

Then theirs Jodi’s best friend. While some might find  Dunkleman or “Dunkers,” endearing and sweet, I happen to find him incredibly annoying.

During the movie, he is constantly flirting with Jodi and asking her out on dates, though she had turned down the offer plenty of times beforehand. She showed no returned interest in him whatsoever, yet he continued asking for her to “just give him a chance”. At some points in the film, Dunkers’ constant nagging went so far as to where I would call it harassment.

When Stig, a Swedish foreign exchange student and the third side of the love triangle, is introduced to the plot, Dunkleman instantly resents him as he is seen as a threat. Dunkleman does everything in his power to keep Jodi and Stig from being together, working to sabotage their “dates” and how Jodi views his character. Keep in mind that Stig was everything that Jodi desired in a guy: kind, funny, handsome, sensitive and, of course, taller than her.

Though he seems to live by the motto “If you don’t succeed, try again”, perhaps Dunkleman should learn how to accept a simple two-lettered answer from time to time: “No.”

As formerly stated, Jodi is a straight, healthy, blonde, thin, Caucasian who comes from a decently wealthy family. She just happens to be tall, too. Also, aren’t we forgetting that most runway models are typically around the same height as Jodi? Ava Michelle herself, the actress who potrays Jodi, has the word “Model” written in her Instagram bio. Tall people do not necessarily have any negative stigmas around them, and quite literally are not looked down upon. Perhaps other topics should have been discussed in the film; such as poverty, racial discrimination, homophobia, or the struggles people go through while living with actual mental or physical disabilities.

While I understand that the writers of the movie had good intentions, I feel as though the main character’s “flaw” held no real weight. Tall people might experience teasing and maybe even romantic alienation, but they are not facing the kind of hardships that other marginalized social groups are in the slightest.

Bad writing is somewhat expected from the film. Cheesy romantic comedies are practically Netflix’s brand by now. However, some of the lines are particularly cringe-worthy, and should definitely hold a spot in this review. Though the script was not exactly worthy of an Oscar or anything, the actors delivered their lines with grace. Notable performers such as Steve Zahn, from Modern Family, and Angela Kinsey, from The Office, played the parts as Jodi’s overly-concerned father and slightly scatterbrained mother. Sabrina Carpenter from the popular discontinued Disney show, Girl Meets World, was also featured in the movie as Harper, Jodi’s beauty-queen sister.

Though Tall Girl was not the best movie that I have seen, I was able to watch it all the way through without growing bored. All in all, I would call the new Netflix production “hilariously bad”.

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