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January 21, 2021

I watched all of Netflix’s Tall Girl and it was awful

By CLAIRE BEAVER | October 10, 2019

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EDA INCEKARA / PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR

Beaver weighs in on Netflix’s latest original movie Tall Girl, directed by Nzingha Stewart.

This week I watched Netflix’s newest original movie, Tall Girl. This movie starts with a guy starting to ask out our titular tall girl, Jodi (played by Ava Michelle), until she stands up. She is a tall, blonde model-type, which is obviously a fat “no” for little boys in high school. And she follows up with, “You know that really, really tall girl you go to school with?” Eye-roll.

I’m sorry, what? Is that a stereotype that I just… missed? Honestly I am looking for responses to this. Please contact me if you or a loved one have ever been dubbed “tall girl” or if you know that this movie didn’t just make that thing up.

Her biggest issue is that she is tall? Karlie Kloss is 6-foot-2, and she basically owns the Flatiron now. Just go and be a model and step on anyone who was rude to you. Also, if you’re gonna send it on the Karlie thing, teach girls how to code while you’re at it.

Three minutes in, and we’re already slapped with a pun. Her friend Fareeda (Anjelika Washington) says that she’s trying to start class on a high note while blasting music. Jodi replies, “I start every class off on a high note.” I had to pause this movie. Only three minutes in, I wasn’t sure I could take it.

Jodi’s dad is trying to pin her tallness on some sort of health issue. Do dads actually care about this? Do people actually care about this? Also, her sister is a beauty queen whose biggest flaw is her allergies. Same, right?

Jodi also has a guy interested in her from the beginning, her friend Jack (Griffin Gluck), whose best move is, “Date a short guy.... Do something crazy.” What?! I truly don’t know how to talk about this movie without bombarding you with snotty rhetorical questions.

Just when I thought this film couldn’t get better, we meet Stig (Luke Eisner), a tall, smart and blond — did I mention that he’s tall? — exchange student from Sweden. Love at first height. Sorry. “Sight.” Freudian slip.

Simultaneously we meet Kimmy (Clara Wilsey), a mean girl who happened to learn a bit of Swedish on a family vacation and is quick to whip it out. Then we find out that Stig is Jack’s foreign-exchange brother, who will be staying with him. Wild. Kimmy snags Stig right away, giving our tall girl yet another thing to sigh about.

I could’ve written this movie in my sleep, and that is not a brag. We get the pining girl, the hot sister, the mean friend and the makeover. Cookie cutter.

“Let’s face it, Jodi. You’re the tall girl.” An actress got hired to say that. Incredible.

So, as you’re dying to know but certainly couldn’t guess, Jodi and Stig hit it off while playing piano. After all, it’s the one thing that Jodi thinks she’s good at. Hot. Also they bond over the fact that Guys and Dolls is their favorite musical. Guys and Dolls is just, straight-up not good! At least pick Mamma Mia or Next to Normal or something.

They also share their first kiss on a trolley (while Stig is dating mean girl Kimmy). Scandalous! Also, is that the only reason why this movie is set in New Orleans?

There is something else that makes me want to comment, and it’s the older sister’s beauty-pageant stereotype. This movie came out just a few weeks ago, and they make a joke about her not eating carbs. When she takes a bite of an English muffin, Jodi slaps her. For background, the sister had told Jodi to slap her if she ever caught her eating bread. I don’t know whether they were simply trying for some physical comedy, or whether eating disorders are still considered funny in writers’ rooms, but I was shocked. That feels wrong for a movie that seems to be about accepting yourself. It’s also just not funny. So there’s that.

But there’s one thing that I won’t wreck. It’s the acting. Everybody plays what they’re given, and they do as well as they can with those words. Sure, it’s cringe-worthy, but I think it’s supposed to be.

Complete with an emotional speech from Jodi at homecoming, this movie is truly a gift. The crown jewel is when Jodi’s self-confidence allows her to say, “The weather up here, it’s pretty great.” Take that, haters.

The finale of this movie is the only part I couldn’t predict. I won’t ruin it for you, but there’s a kiss and a milk crate. It’s awkward.

The bottom line is that I would love to have lunch with the writer of this masterpiece. This movie was made almost unbearable because of every cliché, every pun, every slow walk to an emo Maggie Rogers song. Yet I did watch the whole thing. Also, I’m 5-foot-5, if you were wondering.

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