Netflix’s new original film Tall Girl acts as one of this generation’s high school movies, but disappoints in terms of continuity and originality

It’s worth a watch if you’re not too cynical and come in with low expectations; characters have chemistry and story-line is varied

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Netflix’s new original film Tall Girl acts as one of this generation’s high school movies, but disappoints in terms of continuity and originality

Tall Girl, released September 13th, 2019 on Netflix, emphasizes the struggles of Jodie Kreyman's unusual high school experience.

Tall Girl, released September 13th, 2019 on Netflix, emphasizes the struggles of Jodie Kreyman's unusual high school experience.

Tall Girl, released September 13th, 2019 on Netflix, emphasizes the struggles of Jodie Kreyman's unusual high school experience.

Tall Girl, released September 13th, 2019 on Netflix, emphasizes the struggles of Jodie Kreyman's unusual high school experience.

Netflix released a new original movie on September 13, 2019, titled Tall Girl. This movie is about the challenges that 6’1” protagonist Jodie Kreyman faces as a junior in high school in modern-day America. Quite quickly after the announcement of the movie and release of the trailer, the success of the film seemed to be about as absolute as flying pigs. 

Many viewers had complaints about how instead of publicizing issues of bullying someone who is too tall, the large streaming platform should focus on talking about bullying due to sexuality, race, family income, etc. On a less political note, people wanted something other than the typical high school romance, with mean girls, cute guys, and quirky best friends. In contrast, others were excited to see actress and dancer Ava Michelle lead the movie as Jodie, especially after Michelle had been kicked off of 2011 hit series Dance Moms for “being too tall.” Given this, her role in the movie seemed to fit her perfectly. 

Tall Girl, set in New Orleans, follows the story of Jodie Kreyman, her two best friends Jack Dunkleman and Fareeda (played by Griffin Gluck and Anjelika Washington, respectively), their conflict with the classic mean girl and her clique, and their high school’s newest addition: a (tall) Swedish exchange student named Stig Mohlin. Every girl flocks to Stig like bees to honey because, frankly, he sure is sweet. Eventually, Stig starts to like Jodie and keeps promising her that he’ll break up with Kimmy (Head Mean Girl™) but never does. Jodie gets sad, Dunkleman (now called Donkers) gives her a gift and she magically gains confidence, gives a speech at the homecoming dance, then ends things with Stig. Quite predictable, but I don’t know what to expect from Netflix anymore unless they’re asking me if I’m still watching The Office after only three episodes running automatically. Of course I’m still watching, just play the intro already! 

Now I’m not going to lie, I went into this movie with very low expectations. Usually, Netflix originals are just low budget movies with a big corporation wig on (like Sierra Burgess is a Loser and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), and this movie seemed to somehow surpass the others. 

Perhaps it was the weirdly twisted love story or Stig’s wonderful Swedish accent, but it really was not that bad. I think it also helped that Angela Kinsey (best known for her role as Angela Martin from The Office) and of course Steve Zahn aka Mr. Heffley from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series played the Kreyman parents. It was nice to see a mix of familiar faces alongside other actors I hadn’t seen before, especially in the main roles. 

It was also quite refreshing to not see Noah Centineo playing the typical hot guy, but that seems to come from deeper rooted issues. The movie was a classic high school movie, which wasn’t exactly a bad thing, given that there is a new generation of teenagers that need their own High School Musicals. It had a strong moral story, which is good for younger audiences, but was still entertaining enough to watch all the way through and genuinely be invested in the character development. 

In addition, as someone who USED to be taller than just about everyone, I actually found some of it relatable, and even endearing. Overall, I would not say that this is the best movie I have ever seen, but far from the worst. It had fun characters that had good chemistry with each other and seemed to be standard enough that anyone could relate to at least one person in the movie. The storyline was varied enough that if you had not been on Twitter recently or been cynical enough to find something wrong with everything, you could enjoy this movie and want to see it all the way through. 

Tall Girl: 7/10