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Tall Girl 2 movie

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Emily Clark

Movie Review

It’s been three months since tall girl Jodi Kreyman decided to stand up for herself and embrace her 6-foot-1-and-a-half-inch frame.

And frankly, the results are staggering.

Jodi’s newfound confidence gives her the courage her to do things she’s never done before, such as date a guy shorter than her, help people reach things on the top shelf and audition for the spring musical.

Unfortunately, it’s also short-lived.

Because while Jodi’s friends and family love her new self-assurance, they’re also pushed to the side by her sudden popularity. Guys ask Jodi out right in front of her boyfriend, Jack Dunkleman. Jodi’s focus on the school play causes her to miss best friend Fareeda’s birthday dinner (and flunk Calculus).

But worst of all is Jodi’s fear that all her recent success is fake.

The voice in her head suggests that maybe she isn’t so much talented and smart as she is just lucky. And that voice grows even louder when Jodi realizes that one mistake could cause her to lose it all—and that she could go back to just being the “tall girl” again.

Positive Elements

Jodi learns to turn down the volume of the negative voice in her head by mentally affirming herself with things she knows are true—that she is good and talented and smart, and that it’s OK to get scared and anxious sometimes.

People in Jodi’s life empathize, vulnerably showing her that she isn’t the only one with anxieties and insecurities, and further giving her advice to overcome those negative thoughts. (In one poignant scene, Jodi’s mom talks her through an anxiety attack.)

Jodi’s parents realize their culpability in their daughter’s dread. They apologize for putting so much pressure on her to perform well and promise to be more observant of her emotions to help her work through the bad ones.

A former bully of Jodi’s chooses to stop being mean since it makes him feel “dirty.” He also encourages his best friend, Kimmy (Jodi’s main tormenter) to makes some changes as well, since she’s never even really been a good friend to him. And these things prompt Kimmy to help Jodi backstage during the musical instead of sabotaging her.

There are smaller, but still important lessons about forgiveness and the value of family and friendship. We see instances of teenage immaturity in relationships, though these are treated more as teaching points for how not to act. Teenagers also learn how to manage their expectations and not to put people on a pedestal. People occasionally lie, but later confess and apologize.

Spiritual Elements

None.

Sexual Content

Several teenage couples kiss and dance closely together. Female characters sometimes wear revealing outfits. (We see one girl in a sports bra.) We see a dancer’s bloomers (a type of garment worn under costumes) when she spins. We hear that a girl’s boyfriend cheated on her. Jodi’s mom says she is “very fertile” when her husband asks to have another baby.

Violent Content

A girl gets accidentally kicked in the head during a dance rehearsal. We hear that a guy hurt his back when the milk crate he was standing on broke.

Crude or Profane Language

There is a single use of “h—” and several misuses of God’s name. We also hear the term “jeez.” Someone exclaims, “Holy crap!”

Drug and Alcohol Content

A girl threatens to put sleeping pills in Jodi’s drink to make her pass out on stage.

Other Negative Elements

Although Jodi isn’t the victim of bullying anymore (with the occasional exception of Kimmy trying to psych her out), we hear the constant stream of Jodi’s thoughts, which emotionally tear her down just as badly as her former tormenters. We also hear about past instances of bullying toward her and other characters.

Jodi receives bad relationship advice from her parents after an argument with her boyfriend. While bestie Fareeda and her sister suggest that she take the first step towards reconciliation with an apology, her parents insist this is wrong. They say relationships are about power; if she gives in first, she’ll lose all of hers.

A girl talks about how her dad lives in another state and has never been to one of her school performances. He always promises to attend but winds up sending a postcard in apology instead. She burns his most recent postcard to symbolize that she will no longer allow herself to believe him.

Fareeda’s parents shoot down her dream of becoming a fashion designer, insisting she get “serious” about her future and pursue medical school instead.

Conclusion

Tall Girl 2 is one of those films that, at a glance, is a fantastic lesson about self-esteem and self-worth. But if families are planning to watch it, they may want to be prepared for a deeper discussion on those matters.

The first Tall Girl film received criticism on social media for the film’s portrayal of “an otherwise thin, white, affluent young woman as a victim of discrimination.” Tall Girl 2 addresses that criticism. When a teacher asks Jodi what her response would be to someone who perhaps is suffering from a terminal illness or homelessness, Jodi responds that she knows her height isn’t a “real” problem. However, she continues, it also doesn’t make all the bad things that have happened to her any less real.

It’s a good point, too. When you’re an adult, it’s easy to look back at all the things you thought were important in high school and realize how naïve you were. But when you’re a teenager, high school is your whole world. It’s hard to have the emotional capacity to care about someone who might not know where their next meal is coming from when bullies are tearing away at every shred of your self-esteem.

But Jodi managed to overcome those bullies in the first film. So what’s holding her back now?

Jodi gradually realizes that the worst bully she has is the one in her head. Though the film never uses the term, you might’ve heard the phrase “imposter syndrome,” or the fear that all of your hard-earned success is somehow fake and that someone will expose you as an imposter. That’s Jodi struggles now.

That little voice in her head constantly tells her that she is talentless and ugly and weak and stupid and a plethora of other insults that make her question her self-worth. But Jodi learns to quiet that voice by reminding herself of what is true—that she is talented and beautiful and strong and smart.

Now, that’s where the film ends, reminding teens to be kind to themselves, to believe in themselves and to trust the affirmations given to them by their friends and family. And while those are all good things, they’re also not the whole story about our worth and identity.

As Christians, we know that our intrinsic value comes directly from God. We are His children and joint heirs in Christ, and He loves us. And it’s not because of our talent or strength or intelligence that this is possible. It’s because of Christ’s great sacrifice, which was given because He loved us, even while we were still sinners.

Tall Girl 2 doesn’t take that next step. But families who watch together could easily do just that, connecting the dots between the positive messages Tall Girl 2 delivers about personal worth and connecting them to the bigger theological truth about our identity in Christ.

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Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her fiancé indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.