Netflix gives me no hope for the future. With movies like The Perfect Date, The Kissing Booth, and now Tall Girl, Netflix learned that bad movies are more popular than good ones. This garbage fire of a film came out on September 13 and has since earned a deserved 29% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Overall, the movie is indicative of everything wrong with Netflix’s teen movie formula.
As the super creative title suggests, the movie is about a tall girl named Jodi. Her whole life, people bullied her for her height and she has no self-esteem whatsoever. She falls for the new foreign exchange student Stig who in addition to being stunningly attractive is apparently the only guy at their high school who is over 6’1. She enters a weird love triangle, realizes that she loves herself for who she is, and all that typical nonsense.
Ultimately, the movie is about overcoming adversity, but the bar for what counts as adversity is extremely low. I think the movie was meant to be inspirational, but all I really felt was intense anger and a bit of despair.
First of all, is rampant discrimination against tall people something I am unaware of? And since when is 6’1 “freakishly tall?” The very premise of this movie makes no sense to me at all and bullying in the film is so overdone I can’t feel any sympathy for the main character.
To be completely honest, I reached the threshold of how much trash I could tolerate about forty minutes in and spent the rest of the movie an empty husk of a person waiting for death. I legitimately felt like crying at one point because I was so exhausted from being angry at this film. A sudden feeling of hopelessness overcame me as I realized Netflix isn’t even pretending to try anymore.
The main character Jodi is unsympathetic because of how self-sabotaging and petty she is. At the beginning of the movie, she talks to the audience and says, “You think your life is hard? I’m a high school junior with size thirteen Nikes… beat that.” Yeah, because teenagers don’t have to face issues like racism, homophobia, or poverty. It’s unbelievably condescending to assert this upper-middle-class white girl as the epitome of struggle.
I was particularly annoyed by one scene in which Jodi tells her sister that she’s “barely a woman” because she’s tall and doesn’t dress feminine. People see Jodi as ugly for dressing “masculine” which basically means she wears hoodies and has her hair in a ponytail. It creates this weird dynamic where Jodi simultaneously has low self-esteem over her looks and a superiority complex over not being “like other girls.” The moment when Jodi finally grows a spine of her own, she starts wearing her hair down. Everyone then comments about how “confident” and attractive she looks with her hair down. At this moment, I walked away from my screen for twenty minutes, so I could cleanse my pallet of this disaster film.
Unfortunately, I had to come back to see an end to this miserable story.
The thing that upsets me the most is that she ends up with the emotionally-manipulative scrub Dunkleman. Apparently, Dunk has spent years trying to persuade Jodi to date him with no success whatsoever. The movie portrays his inability to take no for an answer as admirable instead of creepy. He lies to isolate her from romantic competitors, intrudes on her and Stig when they hang out, and watches her in her sleep, but I guess that’s just “romantic.”
I’m getting sick of the trope of main characters fighting with their best friends over popularity. It portrays teens as shallow, selfish, and incapable of healthy relationships. Jodi follows this cliche and ditches her friend Fareeda, the only person besides Dunkleman who doesn’t judge her for her height. Besides the two guys who want to date her, Fareeda is the only person who stands up for Jodi and preaches self-love to her the entire movie. After all that, Jodi throws her away for warning her against hanging out with toxic people. The conflict between them is never actually resolved because Jodi is too busy chasing after guys to be a decent friend.
I don’t understand why teen movies always include toxic friendships with selfish main characters and unfailingly supportive best friends.
Of course, they also have to stir up conflict with the parents for added drama. I skipped through the parent heart-to-heart moment which consisted of her dad telling her that he loves her “no matter what.” I don’t even have words for how ridiculous this is. From the way the parents felt the need to reaffirm their love for their kid, you would assume she came out or something dramatic like that. The seriousness of this scene made no sense because no one gets disowned for being unattractive.
This movie sucks but not in any interesting or funny way. I’m really disappointed in Netflix for continuing to make substandard movies when they’re perfectly capable of making good content. I found the movie genuinely upsetting to watch. Unless you’re a masochist with a few hours to kill, I wouldn’t recommend watching this movie at all.