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Netflix’s Tall Girl Preaches Body Inclusivity, but Falls Short

Netflix’s new original movie, Tall Girl, is not the best movie of all time, but it delivers an overall empowering message––love yourself. Tall Girl focuses on a 6’1” high school girl named Jodi, played by 6’1” actor Ava Michelle, who struggles with her body image as she ventures into the realm of dating. Jodi’s dating prospects only start looking up when a tall foreign exchange student from Sweden enrolls in her high school. In a world where it seems like every movie cast is average height, we welcome this overlooked area of body inclusivity. There are definitely parts of this movie that are unrealistic and almost all of the characters follow high school stereotypes.

Let’s walk through a couple of these issues:

First and foremost, I would like to address the question of whether or not there isn’t one person that’s taller than 6’1” at this fictional high school. As The New York Times put it, “Apparently, Ruby Bridges High School does not have a basketball team, and nobody there has ever seen a teenage girl with a growth spurt.”

Secondly, are high school kids really this mean? Jodi meanders around her school, trying to hide in her sweatshirt and avoid petty insults like, “How’s the weather up there?” from her classmates. Furthermore, the movie features a character named Kimmy (Clara Wilsey), who is the popular mean girl with no dimension that we’ve all seen before.

On top of that, Jodi’s two best friends are a free-spirited black girl and a nerdy white boy. Wow, how creative, Netflix! The only shining glimmer of hope within the characters in this movie is that Jodi’s beauty queen older sister, Harper (Sabrina Carpenter), cares about her little sister more than winning pageants.

Besides these obvious flaws, Tall Girl is still a solid choice for a Netflix movie night. The script will make you actually laugh out loud (in a good way), the movie features many “aw” moments, and you will walk away after watching it feeling empowered in your body.

While Tall Girl tackles one area of body inclusion that is often ignored, the movie could have used even more diversity (PSA: height is not the only discriminatory factor that goes into movie casting). For a film that preaches body inclusivity, it rises tall in including heights, but falls short in regards to weight.

Yet, we still stan the height inclusion in this movie, especially after the internet realized Ava Michelle was kicked off “Dance Moms” for being too tall. Look at her now––starring in a movie! Take that, Abby Lee!

Hopefully, the theme of body inclusivity and positivity in Tall Girl spreads to the rest of Hollywood’s latest movies and TV shows. Tall Girl opened the door to this overlooked topic, and I’m excited to see what comes next.

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Alexandra Kallfelz is a senior studying journalism at Boston University. Besides writing, Alexandra's passions include color guard, travel, Netflix, music, and Disney. She is a pure-blood New Englander and a dog fanatic.
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