Photo taken from Netflix
The other day I received a text from one of my friends that urged me to watch Netflix’s newest rom-com “Tall Girl.” The title kind of confused me at first; it was so short and yet entailed an entire movie behind it… about being tall?
It seemed impossible how height was the entire concept of a two-hour film, but here goes Netflix yet again contributing to their never-ending supply of rom-coms. These films don’t typically receive particularly bad feedback, so I do end up watching them at some point (almost all of them, that’s to say). Honestly, Netflix has a pretty smart formula for these.
So the story goes like this. A female middle-class protagonist named Jodi Kreyman is bullied because of how tall she is, and though she is perfectly pleasant, not much good goes her way. Her only two friends include the motivational sidekick and the kind childhood friend who happens to have a crush on her. The nightmare trio of mean girls at school taunts her because of her “sasquatch” height, and even worse, her crush that she pursues is the guy dating the most popular girl at school. The thing is, after all that effort Netflix put into the plot, she’s just 6′ 1”.
Jodi frequently receives the “How’s the weather up there?” comment every few minutes. She’s a “freak” and “amazonian” and yet she’s also a (mildly) tall, nice, privileged, pretty, blond girl. But we need to remember, Netflix knows what’s up: Jodi’s an outcast according to the weird logic of “Tall Girl”, and we end up rooting for the outcast either way because we don’t want bullies to define her.
Okay but here’s the thing: Netflix made a movie about being tall, but Jodi’s height itself is practically an optical illusion. (Well 6” 1′ isn’t that tall in the first place so they had to do something I suppose…) “Tall Girl” portrays Jodi an entire head above all her peers: she appears to be either 7 feet tall, or to have classmates that are only under 5 ‘5. Not one student has ever come close to matching her height in her entire school career. If Netflix is going to make a movie about being tall and dramatize it this much, the least they could do is actually exaggerate her height so it can’t compare to realistic standards. In fact, Netflix’s choice for Jodi’s height is one of the most inconvenient… being tall, especially around the 6-foot mark, is generally paired with modeling. (And no, Jodi is not bullied out of jealousy.)
But it doesn’t end there. Sure the title is “Tall Girl,” but the entire movie revolves around Jodi’s height. She’s bullied for her height, her parents are concerned health-wise because of her height, her dad tries to get Jodi to feel more accepted through the tall club “High Hats” because of her height, and even the crush she develops is because of his height: a new foreign exchange student who becomes only tall guy in school. The angle of the film is basically an obsession with Jodi’s height.
You’d think it ends there but instead, Netflix is short yet again.
Character development doesn’t seem to appear much, and Netflix misses the mark in putting effort in anything else other than events that have to do with Jodi’s height. I can’t even remember the name of Jodi’s best friend, who was only used in times when Jodi needed some motivation. It doesn’t matter that Jodi has a refined taste in books or is an extremely skilled musician… those aren’t about her height so what’s the point on elaborating on it.