Review: The message ‘Tall Girl’ failed to convey

Review: The message 'Tall Girl' failed to convey

Kelsey D., Reporter

“You think your life is hard? I’m a high school junior wearing size 13 Nikes. Men’s size 13 Nikes.”

The Netflix original movie Tall Girl had good intentions to shed light on the struggles of being a tall female.

Unfortunately, the movie fell short.

The plot revolves around a 6’1″ girl named Jodi who can’t find a tall enough boyfriend. Meanwhile, she rejects a guy who’s been pining after her for years because he’s too short. Even if it wasn’t for this double standard, it’s hard to feel sorry for the self-imposed victim.

It’s clear the main message was supposed to be about a bullied tall girl who eventually learns to stand up for herself, empowering other tall girls. However, the majority of the “bullying” is just neutral comments on her height, such as “How’s the weather up there?” and things that don’t classify as mean. Jodi spends more time complaining about being tall than actually getting bullied, which makes her character unlikable.

It looks like portraying Jodi as a victim was supposed to gather empathy from the audience, but because it was so poorly done, this backfired and made her character seem ungrateful, highlighting her privilege. Not to say that rich, attractive girls like Jodi can’t experience bullying, but the way it was portrayed in this movie undermines those who actually experience things like this. The larger issue isn’t Jodi’s height (because realistically 6’1″ isn’t freakishly tall), but rather, her lack of self-esteem.

There are great things this movie aimed at, but failed to do. Including racial diversity in the cast was a priority Director Nzingha Stewart, a black woman, had in mind. The clip where the school dance team performs consists of only black girls, which is confusing because it doesn’t match the rest of the school’s population. It feels like the production crew decided to add that scene for more black representation, but only as an afterthought. The scene added nothing to the plot itself, but at least the movie attempted representation.

To put it briefly, the storyline and the characters lack depth. The main character’s sister Harper seems to exist for the sole purpose of highlighting how Jodi is a victim. Harper is an outgoing, beauty pageant winner of average height, which would make anyone’s life look worse in comparison, not only Jodi’s.

The popular girl, Kimmy, has been bullying Jodi since childhood without an explained reason. The parents view Jodi’s height as a huge flaw, to the point where they visit a doctor to see if her growth can be stunted. The characters are far-fetched. 

The movie was cliche. You don’t have to be 6’1″ to see it coming.

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