Tall Girl: A Confusing Outlook on Adolescence

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Tall Girl: A Confusing Outlook on Adolescence

PHOTO BY BRIAN CANTONI/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

PHOTO BY BRIAN CANTONI/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

PHOTO BY BRIAN CANTONI/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

By Ethan Alonzo, ASSOCIATE EDITOR

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“You think your life is hard? I’m a high school junior wearing size 13 Nikes.”
One of Netflix’s newest additions to their Originals lineup has had the internet in a frenzy. The recent coming-of-age film, “Tall Girl,” tries to embody what it means to grow up different from those around you.
However, “Tall Girl” is both a product as well as a victim of a generation pursuing political correctness, suffering from their avoidance of offending anyone.
Titled “Tall Girl,” starring Ava Michelle of Dance Moms, Sabrina Carpenter of Girl Meets World, and Angela Kinsey from The Office (US), is a coming of age story revolving around Jodi Kreyman. The plot centers on insecurities about her height and constant jokes from her peers about how tall she is. As the film progresses, with a little high school romance, Jodi’s confidence grows as she blossoms into the person she is meant to be.
While this sounds like the perfect film for anyone going through their adolescence fearing what makes them unique, the way Netflix went around it wasn’t the best approach. Anyone who has watched the film may have thought “wait, so they make fun of her because she’s tall?”
The actress who plays Jodi, Ava Michelle, is obviously a gorgeous young woman, but the production crew attempts to make her look like every other bullied teen. However, putting her hair in a ponytail and lessening her makeup shows Netflix’s apprehensiveness around the issue of stereotypes.
The problem isn’t that the creators of “Tall Girl” did not make Jodi a stereotype, in fact, I praise them for being able to create a story around an “average teenage girl.” The days of “Ugly Betty” and “Not Another Teen Movie” are long gone, and that’s a good thing. The super nerdy girl with a golden personality trope has been overused, so creating a character that anyone can relate to was a brilliant decision done by the writers.
Nonetheless, this also creates the biggest issue I have with the film: The only reason that the characters make fun of Jodi is her height. Take away her height, and Jodi is just like everyone else.
I understand that the point of the film is to embrace what makes you different, but teenagers aren’t so one dimensional. By creating a story that revolves around one aspect of Jodi, it reflects on the current teenagers that are going through the same thing, that one thing that makes them special and you should only celebrate that one thing.
High school isn’t an easy time for anyone. Teens struggle to find themselves as they learn to embrace what makes them unique. When compared to other coming-of-age films like “Pretty in Pink”, “The Breakfast Club,” and” The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “Tall Girl” is a forgettable film.