On September 13 Netflix released their latest teen rom-com – Tall Girl. Since the trailer dropped a few weeks ago, I have been eagerly anticipating the release of this film. It looked smart, stylish…basically it was right up my street.
A little back story – Jodi, the tallest girl in her school (six foot one…and a half to be exact) who has always felt uncomfortable in her own skin and is relentlessly bullied by her peers, finally decides to take life into her own hands when a Swedish exchange student moves to town.
You get where this is going right? Good. I will try my best to not spoil the film…but come on it’s a rom-com and she has to get the guy…but which one?
The Meet Cutes
From the trailer – which I will link below – I already knew who our hero was going to choose. BUT…we have a little twist in the meet cute structure that I was not expecting. There are three, yes three meet cutes in this film. Ok sorry…three and a half. The first one barely counts so I’ll skip it – though it is visually stunning. I’m not saying this has ever happened, but I can’t remember the last time I saw that. (Comment down below if you know any!)
Meet 1 – Jodi and Jack
Ok y’all – seriously I wish that I could be as confident as this kid. He walks into chem class and just starts fawning all over Jodi. So David Blain called me and he was wondering when we were going to make magic together. Hello, charm! We find out in this meet cute that Jodi and Jack have been friends since they were kids and he has been head over heels for Jodi since.
Meet 2 – Jodi and Stig
After a humiliating phone call the night before from her OT (original tormentor) Kimmy, Jodi escapes to the music room where she comes face-to-face with – you guessed it – her crush. It’s really a cute scene. They bond over music and their love of musicals and even sing a little ditty from Guys and Dolls, Stig’s favorite musical. This is the classic meet cute scene that we’ve come to know and love. It’s got all the right spark and romance of Nicholas Sparks and the quippy charm of Nancy Myers. It’s golden.
Meet 3 – Jack and Liz
Though brief and a little breathy, this scene in art class is interesting and shows how well director Nzingha Stewart is behind the lens. She crafts a perfect triangle – Stig and Kimmy in a steamy ode to Ghost (complete with Unchained Melody…yes she went there and I stan), Jodi swooning over Stig, Jack fawning for Jodi…and Liz crushing on Jack. Oh yea, as oblivious as Jodi is to how perfect Jack is for her, Jack is just as clueless to Liz and her…Unchained love…for him.
Can we chat a second about Stewart? What she did in this film is really wonderful. She has definitely honed her craft over the past 20 years as a filmmaker. She started out in music videos then moved to directing television, working closely with Shonda Rhimes. This is her feature film debut and it is a perfect step out for her. Her collaboration with cinematographer Eric Allen Edwards is a true master class in the director/cinematographer collaboration.
The colors are vibrant and give a certain pop to the film – from the opening frame to the closing – they make sense within the scene…which can be very hard to do. In the opening scene…that little half meet cute I was telling you about? They brilliantly place Jodi against a shelf of blue books, signifying that she is intelligent and calm. Oppositly, they place the guy against a shelf of yellow books, signifying warmth and happiness. This couldn’t be further from the truth for the scene though.
As with everything nowadays, there has to be controversy surrounding every aspect of life. In short, people couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact that a well off, attractive white girl was being marginalized – as if marginalization only happens to people of color or people of lower class. Here is a great article from Refinery29 where Stewart addresses this directly.
Where I feel people judged too quickly, and aren’t talking about the real issue of the film is in the relentless bullying this girl endures – and magically goes away when she embraces who she is…so Hollywood. As if giving a speech infront the whole student body – at homecoming nonetheless – will cure all bullying. Though quick little jabs here and there, her bff Fareeda stands to one boy saying – Everytime she hears it it chips away at her soul, which in turn chips away at mine.
Another point of contention for me in the film is the relationship between Jodi and her dad. At the beginning of the film, it is explained that he worried about her rapid growth and even went to a doctor to give her hormones to stunt her growth. Throughout the film, the dad tries to make Jodi comfortable – not in that corny dad way but in a tone deaf way. Thankfully, when the all is lost moment happens and dad finally utters the only I love you phrase in the entire movie – they have a sweet father/daughter moment that I honestly was pleasantly surprised for.
All in all – good film. When you have a free afternoon and want something to watch, I highly recommend it. As promised here is the trailer.
As always thanks for reading. If you watched the film, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!