So on the 29thAugust this year, Netflix released its latest Romantic Comedy, ‘Tall Girl’, and I’m not too afraid to admit, I enjoy the odd Rom Com so I thought I’d give it ago. Now before I watched it, I did have a look at the trailer, and well, let’s just say my expectations were not high. This was supposed to be like one of those ‘coming of age movies’ but it did such a bad job and trying to represent the generation it was about. It won’t be joining the classics.
‘Tall Girl’ is literally about what the title suggests, a girl whose entire brand is being tall. Yeah, other than that she doesn’t really have anything else to offer. Oh wait, she also likes the musical ‘Guys and Dolls’. I mean I knew I was never really going to get on with a character who thinks ‘Guys and Dolls’ is the best musical, when Hamilton is sitting right there! Anyway, each to their own. But yes, other than that small interest, which is only mentioned in one scene in the entire movie, this tall girl has nothing else unique about her. Like all she is, is tall. She’s quite a boring character, and there’s absolutely no way an audience member can relate to her, unless maybe they’re tall too? But then again, many reviewers online said they themselves are pretty tall and still couldn’t relate to her character. I mean you know you’ve messed up when no one can relate to the protagonist of your movie.
What first really irked me about this movie was the line “You think your life is hard? I’m a high school junior wearing sized 13 Nikes. Men’s 13 sized Nikes.” Yes. It was a real line from the movie. I don’t know whether it was supposed to be comedic or not but the eye roll I had when I heard it gave me a headache. Yes, okay it might be embarrassing, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. I mean at least she can afford Nikes. Why do none of these movies ever focus on a character that’s not from a white middle class background? Let’s be real, the average height for models is 5.11. These women are often hailed the most beautiful in the world, so I don’t really understand the issue. I’m beginning to find it boring watching these bland stories lines get done over and over again. I love a good voice over monologue, but Jodi literally says this line within the first three minutes, already creating a gigantic distance between her and the audience. It was immediately then hard for me to feel any sort of sympathy for her. Not two days before, BBC news reported how hospitals in Syria are having to move underground because most of them are being bombed in the civil war happening there right now. But you know what, at least they don’t have to wear size 13 Nikes! I know you might be thinking; Millie, everyone has their personal struggles, and she is really insecure about her height, and you shouldn’t even compare, well you know what I am going to compare because that is exactly what Jodi is doing. This line creates a competition about who is suffering more. This generation may be more politically aware than you think Netflix so please stop treating us like all we care about is aesthetics.
But is she really suffering? Yes, she gets the odd common about her height in this movie such as “how’s the weather up there”, and her dating game is off because in her entire school she’s the only person whose 6.1 apparently. Other than that, there is literally nothing else people do to her that would make me feel empathy for her as an audience member. I’d call it light teasing you know? You could literally change the title of the movie to ‘short girl’ and it would be exactly the same. I feel like the writers just picked a random generic thing like height in order to try and make this story relatable which they failed at terribly. I do not know anyone in the entire universe who hasn’t felt bad about the way they look at least at one point or other during their lifetime. However, there’s usually other reasons they feel insecure, and it’s not always about looks. People can feel insecure about their personality, their talent, their academic ability, their ability to socialize outside of their comfort zone etc. It can literally be anything.
As I said earlier, Jodi likes musicals, and we have a scene of her sitting at a piano singing. And yet this is never brought up again. Like one scene of her having anything other than do with the fact she’s tall, and the writers decided never to address it again. Maybe I would be more on board with this film if Jodi’s character developed away from the fact she’s tall. But it doesn’t. She just accepts the fact that she’s tall, finally at the age of 16, and kisses a boy (sorry spoiler alert!). Her character development essentially comes down to her putting make-up on and wearing heels. Okay, when are movies going to stop linking women’s confidence development with purely just looks? Like the make-over scenes have been done over and over, can we please get something just a tidily bit relatable now? Netflix continues making films with the message; if you’re every depressed or sad, insecure or have social anxiety slap a bit of make-up on, wear a cute outfit and by god you’re cured!
I feel like whoever wrote tall girl, forgot to do some research into what teenagers are really feeling, and how they move past their own individual insecurities. I know films are entertainment, but they still have to relate to the audience watching them otherwise what’s the point? Tall Girl joins the long lists of shitty films which failed to portray the human condition and female empowerment. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a romance story but come on I’d could go and watch Pretty in Pink to see a girl with insecurities end up with the guy. Yeah that’s from the 80s. Sad there’s been no development since then. Next time try better Netflix, or you know maybe hire a female writer instead of a man to write a script about the current female insecurities. Just a suggestion.