Tall Girl starts out the same as any romantic comedy. Boy and Girl are at the library reading books at two tables facing each other. Boy and Girl look up and make eye contact. Boy and Girl start flirty banter about the books they’re reading before Boy asks Girl out. But here’s the kicker: Girl stands up and is towering over Boy.
Girl is Jodi Kentley: 16 year old, 6’1, Jodi Kentley. Growing up, Jodi was always taller than her peers, causing her to receive constant teasing throughout her childhood. Tired of slouching in the hallways and lacking self-confidence, Jodi finally starts to love all 73 inches of herself.
When I initially saw the trailer for this movie, I was intrigued. As a 5’1, 15 year old, I’ve received lots of teasing from people poking fun at my height. As one of the shortest people in my grade, I’m used to sitting in the front row for pictures, standing on my tiptoes to reach for things and, not being able to see in crowded hallways. I have always wanted to be taller because it seems like there are only disadvantages to being short; that if I was tall, life would be easier. Nevertheless, after seeing a trailer for a movie about the struggles of a tall girl, I was interested to see the other side of things.
Turns out, the whole movie is about the struggle for Jodi to love herself and her height, and to find a guy taller than her she can date. Everyone in the whole entire school makes fun of her for being tall, except for her two best friends, Fareeda and 5’8 Jack Dunkleman who has been in love with Jodi forever. In fact, he tells her, pretty much everyday, that he’s in love with her. But Dunkleman just isn’t enough because he’s shorter than her. Jodi feels hopeless until one day, a new Swedish boy comes to school who’s perfect in every way and he’s taller than her!
I had a few problems with this movie. First of all, Jodi is portrayed as a giant and a major freak in her school. In the scene I mentioned before, when she stands up, she looks at least 5 inches taller than the boy. When she’s walking in the hallway, she’s a head taller than everyone there. You can’t tell me there isn’t a single guy taller than 6’1 at an American high school.
Also, the only struggle Jodi faces is that she’s tall. Yes, I understand she is made fun of because of her height and no one should have to go through emotional torment for something they can’t control. However, she says, “You think your life is hard? I’m a high school junior wearing size 13 Nikes. Men’s size 13 Nikes. Beat that.” She acts as if being tall is the worst and only problem that any teen could face. She lives in a beautiful three story house and her best friend is in love with her. She’s surrounded by people who love and care for her and all she does is complain about her life. Her best friend Fareeda even says that she never expressed her own hardships because all she would receive from Jodi is how hard her life was because of her height.
Despite this movie’s many shortcomings, I do think that this movie has its heartwarming scenes. Fareeda and Dunkleman are funny, cute, well-written characters that could carry a movie on their own. And when Jodi finally does find self-confidence, it gives you a sense of satisfaction and happiness for her. But it’s definitely not worth watching the whole movie just to see these few bits of gold. Remember, if you ever think your life is hard, Jodi wears size 13 Nikes, men’s size 13 Nikes.