Do you know how hard it is to be a girl in 11th grade and wearing men’s size 13 Nike’s? Well, everyone who has watched the new Netflix Original “Tall Girl” sure does. This supposed coming-of-age movie premiered on Netflix on September 13th, 2019, and has since been the punchline of many jokes on the internet about how Netflix Originals are deteriorating in quality. The question is, does it deserve all the hate that it’s getting?
The movie is literally its title. It’s about a tall girl. Jodi, a 6’1 junior attending a high school in New Orleans, is constantly being bullied for her height and has trouble putting herself out there. She also seemingly has issues finding a guy who meets her specific height expectations, being that she towers over any boy who has ever peaked her interest. After an exchange student from Sweden named Stig, who happens to be taller than her, arrives at her school, Jodi thinks that it’s finally her chance at love and becomes infatuated with him. Unfortunately for her, so do all the other girls at her school, including Jodi’s long-time “tormentor” and resident high school mean girl, Kimmy.
Throughout the movie, viewers get to see Jodi kiss another girl’s boyfriend, insult her best friend who went out of her way her entire life to make Jodi feel appreciated, makeout with a guy who has made fun of her for her entire life in front of her long time admirer and best male friend and then show up to a school dance and give a speech about how it’s not THAT bad being tall. Truly a riveting story. As you can see on basically any social media platform, this movie made people very, very angry, but not for the reasons just listed, but for the blatant ignorance of actual pressing issues in the world.
Viewers are given insight on Jodi’s homelife. She lives in an expensive house, with a supportive father, along with a mother and a sister who are intense and at times self-absorbed, but nonetheless caring. Despite this, we are told throughout the movie that Jodi has the most difficult existence out of everyone at her school. This is not a very good message to send in 2019, when there are more important matters that require more attention such as racial and religious discrimination, homophobia and environmental issues, among others, that could have been given a movie on Netflix. Sure, you could argue that Netflix allows movies about these topics to be shown to viewers, but the publicity for these films aren’t nearly as prominent as they could be, while “Tall Girl” received a lot of marketing opportunities.
The entire movie seems to be lacking in substance and, while it does provide a vague outline of what a stereotypical high school experience could be like, it shies away from hard-hitting conversation points that are usual features in movies about adolescent experiences nowadays. Although, viewers do get to see the effects that bullying has on Jodi, making her feel insecure and unwanted, it stops short of painting an actual picture of the troubles that teens around the world face and focuses on a girl being made fun of for an above average height. Not to mention that the bullies don’t necessarily realize the error of their ways and don’t experience much character development. This is to be said the same for other side characters, such as Jodi’s best friend, who doesn’t have a storyline or any depth to her character other than being Jodi’s friend.
In conclusion, “Tall Girl” is a good movie to watch with friends for a laugh or to play in the background while you’re doing housework. It doesn’t have many well-developed characters or a solid life lesson that is applicable to many situations, unless you’re an extremely TALL girl. Essentially, it can be fun to watch if you don’t think about it too much. The hate it’s receiving in the media is mostly well-deserved, since Netflix really did a number on themselves producing this forgettable storyline and its disregardable characters, but the message of the movie shouldn’t be taken that seriously and the feedback that it gets shouldn’t be taken that seriously either. If you liked it, it can become your new guilty pleasure movie.
Final review: 4.5/10