I’m a Tall Girl Who Watched Tall Girl, and I Had Some Thoughts

I am currently 5 feet 10 inches tall. In my head, it feels like my height has varied, though I’ve been 5’10” since the summer of my sophomore year of high school. I peaked in high school at what felt like 6’6” - it’s hard being taller than half your football team. Since tenth grade, I’ve been one of the tallest girls in my grade. I could never find jeans that were long enough, I always had to bend down in pictures, and wearing any shoe that had even the slightest heel on it gave me nightmares. It sucked.

Now, I love my height. I love being tall. I love how my legs look in skirts, I love being the one my roommates call to get a mug off the top shelf of the cabinet, and I love being able to look a lot of “tall” boys (read: boys who are the same height as me) in the eye. But in high school? Where everything felt like forever, and all the girls were hitting their growth spurts and stopped growing at 5’5”? It was the end of the freaking world.

I first heard of the movie Tall Girl, on Netflix, from a good friend of mine. She’s 5’11”, and thought it would be a fun movie to watch together. We went through a lot of the same stuff in high school, and have both grown into our heights and our confidence since then. I’ve heard of a lot of good things about the movie from people on Twitter (because, really, where else do we get our movie reviews?), about how accurate it is, and how the main character portrayed her awkwardness and insecurities realistically, and how a lot of people really felt their high school selves in that movie. So I decided to give it a try.

Disclaimer: I’m not here to talk about the basic high school romance. I’m not here to dive into the characters of the quirky best friend or the hopeless romantic. We’re here to talk about 6-foot-1Jodi. 

Tall Girl, according to Netflix, is a film about a girl who has “stood out her entire life. Now she just wants to blend in -- until a new crush turns her high school world upside down.” Yeah. Honestly, given the description, this movie’s off to a good start. “She just wants to blend in” - that really hit home for me. Ouch.

Alright, here’s the post-movie verdict: Accurate.

Was it a Hollywood take? Yes. Was it heavily dramaticized? Absolutely. Was there some truth underneath it all that spoke to me on a level that reminded me of the anxiety of making sure the heels on my shoes weren’t too high that I’d be too tall in the hallways every morning? For sure.

Here’s a few things I felt like I should mention that jumped out at me while watching the movie:

  1. Benefits of a new wardrobe

Proportions can be awkward. They can be hard. I spent so much time wearing oversized clothes because my body was thin but my height wasn’t, and I needed my shirts to cover my torso. It was weird. I felt like I was drowning. When Jodi, our 6’1” main character, gets her new wardrobe, the clothing try-on montage is filled with ill-fitting clothes. And then, when she tries on something she loves, we can see her face light up and we see her straighten up. I may not have had this moment in high school (I didn’t feel like I grew into my height until college), but it’s still accurate.

  1. “You’re the tall girl. You’ll never be the pretty girl.”

I don’t have anything to really say for this except that it’s true. This is exactly how it felt. I never felt pretty in high school. I felt tall, and awkward. When the “villain” character said this to Jodi I actually had to pause the movie. I knew that feeling and felt it intensely.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that, above all, this is a high school romance movie. It’s cheesy. There’s a love triangle. There’s the whole “male best friend has been in love with her for years, she never looked at him twice, new hot guy comes in, dramatics ensue,” but beyond that, Jodi’s concerns are real. Her feelings are valid. Her complaints about her height, and about how people treat her are accurate (even if I wasn’t asked daily how the weather was up there). 

But it’s good. It’s fair. If you’re looking for something to get you through quarantine, there are certainly worse movies to watch with no message (put me in front of a high school rom-com over a horror movie any day). This one certainly had one, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.