Tall Girl – Does Netflix’s new rom-com slouch or stand tall? By Caitlin Taylor
Netflix’s latest teen rom-com has received its fair share of criticism and was all together one of the least successful Netflix films with a score of 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, but is it really that bad? The film stars Ava Michelle as Jodi, a teenage girl that struggles to accept herself and find romance due to the fact that she is 6ft 1. That is until she meets the 6ft 3 exchange student from Sweden, Stig. Along with her best friends and family, Jodi faces the challenges of love and accepting herself for who she is.
First, many complaints were made regarding the trailer. Typically, trailers give a redacted overview of a movie’s plot to interest fans, but many noticed that the trailer for Tall Girl seemed to give away the whole plot, meaning the entire story could practically be told in under 3 minutes. This pretty much sums up the film. The film is, as many teen films are these days, about accepting yourself for who you are. In this case, the main character, Jodi, is too tall. I am not the only one who took issue with this and the over-exaggerated portrayal of her height. Unsurprisingly, some viewers reported that they found it hard to relate to the straight, white, attractive, smart character of Jodi who is shown throughout the film to have supportive friends and a loving nuclear family. Furthermore, comments have been made about the heights of the majority of other cast members. Ava Michelle, who plays Jodi, is in real life 6ft 1 and people have noticed that she towers over nearly every other cast member, with Sabrina Carpenter, who plays Jodi’s sister standing at only 5ft and Griffin Gluck (the love interest, Jack) only at 5ft 7. The fact that there doesn’t seem to be anyone else at Jodi’s school over 6ft is pretty unbelievable and although it serves as a device to emphasise the themes in the film, it, again makes it hard to relate to the character. One critic suggested that Tall Girl would not be able to hold its audience because discrimination against being tall does not have the same impact as other social differentials.
The final thing that viewers have questioned about the film is the ending. The conclusion sees Jodi realise that the person she should date is her best friend Jack who has made no secret of his love for her throughout the film. Therefore, she decides to overcome her inhibitions regarding the fact that he is shorter than her and it ends happily ever after. Or does it? The film unfortunately did not paint Jack in the most favourable light. For example, at one point Stig and Jodi are becoming close but Jack persuades Stig to date another girl for popularity instead, leaving Jodi hurt and rejected. In addition, Jack enters Jodi’s room whilst she is asleep and just stares at her in a slightly strange scene. He doesn’t exactly fit the perfect guy mould that is so often seen in these types of films.
Despite its many flaws, Tall Girl is not the worst film you could ever watch. It does a great job promoting the importance of family and it is refreshing to see a main character with supportive parents that are always trying to help her with her problems. Furthermore, Sabrina Carpenter does a great job as Jodi’s sister, showing how two completely different people can still be friends, find common ground and both completely accept each other. Altogether, Tall Girl has both positive and negative aspects to it and if you haven’t seen it already, I suggest you watch it and see what you think. Is it a confusing mess, or is it a heartfelt rom-com?