The 2019 Netflix original rom-com Tall Girl deals with the high-school teen problems of shy, talented, introvert, and beautiful Jodi (Ava Michelle). It is the first feature film directed by Nzingha Stewart and is written by Sam Wolfson.
The movie starts with the beautiful and unusually tall Jodi towering over an average height guy, who was just about to ask her out. The boy chickens out, seeing her more than average height. This incident briefly gives us an idea of what is about to come and continue for the rest of 1 hour and 42 minutes of this movie
Tall Girl Story Line
Jody is a tall girl who wants to remain invisible for most of her life. Although she has talent in playing piano, but she would not come near one as she does not want to give people ”another reason to look at her.”
Jodi’s innate shyness and issues with her self-image is helped little by her father, who seems to be too concerned with her height. In a flashback, we see Richie (Steve Zahn) seeking the advice of a doctor to stunt the growth of his three-year-old daughter, who is already four feet tall.
To Jodi’s dismay, things keep adding up throughout the sixteen years she has spent on earth. Her being in the back-row centre position in all of the school photographs, being asked ”how is the weather up there?’; ten times a day and the constant bullying of Kimmy stitcher (Clara Wilsey) among many others, makes her confine her identity to her Nike men’s size 13 shoe. Very on in the movie, Jodi says — ‘’ You think your life is hard? I am a High school Junior, Wearing size 13 Nikes. Beat that!
Well, there are a lot of problems that surpasses size 13 Nikes. But Jodi and the writer aren’t among people to understand that.
Jodi is body-shamed for most parts by her classmates, except for two of her best friends- Fareeda (Anjelika Washington), the shield and sword of Jodi, and Jack, who has a crush on her since several year. However, he is half Jodi’s size and does not meet 50% of Jodi’s perfect boyfriend requirements!
*Enters Stig Mohlin*
Stig (Luke Eisner) is an exchange student from Sweden. He is everything Jodi ever wanted in her boyfriend. He is smart, intelligent, and funny. Most importantly, he is taller than her.
Just when Jodi’s wished to be noticed, Kimmy snatches the attention of Stig away. She can speak German, Swedish and French. Her language skills make us want to believe that at some point in the movie, she will start talking snake language or Mayan! Her super oomphy body, hot-shot reputation, and popularity sway Stig off of his feet. At this point, we feel that this movie is delving into the much-beaten tracks of a conventional love triangle.
The rest of the Stig-Kimmy-Jodi track is pretty much like what all Hollywood love triangle looks. Kimmy is super mean to the Jodi and Stig finds little substance in Kimmy. Stig shows undue interest in Jodi, blows her off for the most part as he is a wannabe. Bummer!
Tall Girl goes more typical teen drama when Stig trash talks about Jodi in front of a crowd at a party, and Jack tries to save her honour by attacking Stig with a milk carton. However, jack ends up getting a black eye.
For the most part, this movie is about two things— body image issues and a love triangle.
The movie shifts our focus from the body shaming arena of thin-fat and makes us see that being tall (well, excessively so) can be mortifying for a 16-year teenage girl in more ways than one.
To bring out the theme further beautifully, Jodi’s life is juxtaposed with that of Harper, Jodi’s older sister. She has the perfect appearance and seems to be at the front and centre of everyone’s attention. To aggravate matter and make Jodi feel less significant, Harper is a beauty queen who has won several pageants!
Though it manages to get our attention to other aspects of body issues, it does not quite successfully portray the nuances. Jodi’s height of 6 ft 1.5 inches and a feet size 13 seems to be the end of the world. The film entirely rests its head in its own build-up cloud. The plot does not have enough variety to keep the audience engaged for long. While watching tall girl, you might be tempted to click of fast-forward quite a few times.
The movie gives so much importance to the central theme, that there is little room for anything or anyone else.
Being tall is not the be-all and end-all. And Jodi’s father, the schoolmates and in many parts, even Jack acts rather annoying by emphasizing that aspect of the beautiful Jodi’s life in the movie Tall Girl.
The character of the Swedish boy, Stig, is beautifully played by Luke Eisner, but you are bound to feel that it lacks layers. Stig’s character is more like a shell. You will not be allowed a vision into his personality throughout the film. Jack Dunkleman is adorable and annoying at the same time. But by the time this movie ends, you are going to love him pretty much. Of course, Ava Michelle plays the Tall Girl almost perfectly. Her expressions and dialogue deliveries are spot-on. Sabrina Carpenter or Harper has a small role, but she plays her part reasonably well.
While sitting through the movie, you might at times feel that tall Girl is stretching it a tad too bit. The plotline is a little weak. Overall, I will give the Tall Girl 2.5 out of 5 stars. The acting is good, but not exceptionally. And so, it receives 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.
If you are a fan of teen drama, you can surely give Tall Girl a shot. Although it is steeped in mediocrity for most parts. However, don’t get your expectations high. It comes nowhere to classics teen rom-coms like the Mean Girls. Expect Tall girl to provide you lukewarm entertainment. At best, it is a teenage drama that makes its point heard.