By Samantha Sainz-Valdes
I’ve watched a lot of trash films but at least I can say the majority of them aren’t a complete waste of time. Not that they were good mind you, but at least I could enjoy making fun of them. I couldn’t even say that about Tall Girl.
Tall Girl, follows Jodi Kreyman (Ava Michelle) as she tries to learn to love herself, more specifically, being tall. Jodi has been mocked her entire school career for her height, and in her home life, she has to deal with the legacy of her mother and an older sister who were both the most popular girls in their high school. While the movie's intentions were to inspire girls to rise above the hate and embrace what makes them unique, it failed to execute it properly. It quietly sneaks this message at the end as if the writer's themselves forgot what the main point of the movie was. Every trope in the book was used when it came to making this: Attractive but insecure protagonist, Black Best Friend (BBF), Childhood Best friend (who quite possibly has a crush on the protagonist), Hot Love Interest, and Mean Girl. The film is riddled with bad characters that you are not even sure who to root for.
Starting with Jodi, although she has been made fun of by her peers for being tall, one would not really classify her as being a good person. She constantly pushes away her friends and family that have been supportive of her, and never even apologizes for it. Her best friend, Fareeda (Anjelika Washington), has done nothing but stick up for her since they met, and has also told her countless times to embrace who she is. Despite all that, Jodi only feels validation once Hot Love Interest and foreign exchange student, Stig, tells her that she is pretty and kisses her.
As a viewer, it is frustrating to have to side with a character that takes the people around them for granted. The only evidence of Jodi being kind of a decent friend was when Fareeda mentioned how Jodi was able to convince her parents to let her go to Fashion school instead of being a doctor, and it did not have much impact because we don't actually see it in the movie.
In regards to the childhood friend, Jack (Griffin Gluck), the trope usually has a very caring and selfless personality. Funny enough, this is a half-true in the movie. While it is clear that he genuinely cares for Jodi, he is not above sabotaging her love life to his benefit. When our Hot Love Interest shows that he is attracted to Jodi and would like to date her, Jack goes to any lengths to keep them apart. After Jack has successfully manipulated Hot Love Interest, Stig, he inevitably gets the girl and we fade to black.
There are some weak points in the story that seem simple in hindsight. Jodi was being bullied for her height but the way they wrote her character her entire persona was her height that is all she obsessed over. What would be more preferable is that although she was being teased, she would prove to her classmates that she is more than her height. That through her kindness and her intelligence and her talents she was able to see her own self-worth. Instead of her being rescued by a knight in shining armor.
Structurally Tall Girl is a weak film. It’s a film that doesn’t sate the levels of enjoyment of even a basic episode of Spongebob Squarepants circa 2019. This is the reason that it is Entertainment Stew’s Rant of the week.
(All photos in this article are attributed to Netflix LLC)