Netflix’s newest coming of age movie, Tall Girl, teeters way too close to the so bad it’s good line for you to invest your time in it.
Tall Girl revolves around Jodi (Ava Michelle), an insecure high school student who is relentlessly bullied by her schoolmates for being so tall. When Stig (Luke Eisner), a tall Swedish exchange student, enrolls in her school, Jodi makes it her mission to resolve her insecurities and win him over.
If you are on the fence about watching Tall Girl, let me describe the first few minutes of the movie and you can tell me if it sounds like something that you would be interested in.
The opening starts with Jodi flirting with a guy sitting across from her in what looks like her school’s library. When the guy approaches her to ask her out, Jodi stands up from her chair only to see the guy horrified by how tall she is.
The guy decides to change his mind about asking her out and proceeds to run over to his buddy to tell him what a bullet he dodged by nearly asking the freakishly tall girl out.
It is worth pointing out that Jodi is only 6’1. While that is certainly tall for a high school girl, her schoolmates act like she is 8’1 with some of the cheesy jokes they say to her.
That type of humor makes up most of the “comedy” in Tall Girl. As crazy as it sounds, the movie needed to be more over the top. No pun intended.
In any coming of age story, there is some type of progression that happens to the protagonist. Tall Girl is no different as we do see Jodi break out of her shell and become a new person by the end of the movie.
The problem is that when the movie is filled with ridiculous, archetypal characters and silly humor, it is hard to be on board with the dramatic scenes and feel invested in Jodi as a character. The entire premise of Jodi being bullied so much doesn’t feel real or authentic in this setting.
Outside of the story, there were a few other major problems with Tall Girl that derailed my experience watching this movie.
One thing I couldn’t stop noticing was how some of the shots were framed. There were a number of scenes where the character who is talking was framed in a way where they took up only a quarter of the available screen space. That’s not abnormal, but it felt weird in this movie.
I could understand the logic in those types of shots if there were stuff around the character that was important to progressing the story. That wasn’t the case in Tall Girl.
Another distracting element was the actor who played Stig. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that you can tell he is an American actor playing a Swedish foreign exchange student. Are there any Swedish actors available?
Overall, Tall Girl might be a good watch to throw on the background while you have friends over. If the entire tone of the movie was super over the top and silly, it would have made the experience much more entertaining. Unfortunately, the drama we get completely falls flat and makes Tall Girl more of a chore to get through than entertainment.