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Movie Review

Who wouldn’t love to be tall enough to effortlessly dunk a basketball or reach for that super-high box of cereal in the back of the cabinet?

Jodi Kreyman, that’s who.

At six foot one-and-a-half inches, Jodi is so over being tall. Height might be a luxury for a guy, but for a girl? Well, it means being un-datable. It means being undesirable and just plain weird.

It doesn’t make it any better that Jodi’s sister is a beauty pageant model, that her mom is a former beauty queen and that her dad is just your average Joe. To top it off, nearly every student at Ruby Bridges High School reminds Jodi daily that she’s the outcast. Everyone, that is, except her best friend, Fareeda, and Jack Dunkleman, the guy who has had a crush on her since grade school.

But Jodi’s not interested in Jack. He’s too short. Then again, so is every other guy.

What Jodi wants is a smart, sweet, tall guy to walk through the front door and sweep her off her feet. Totally unrealistic? Jodi thinks so. Until, that is, Swedish foreign exchange student, Stig Mohlin, enrolls at Ruby Bridges high.

Now, Jodi must compete against a swarm of other interested girls for Stig’s attention. But as she works to catch the eye of her towering Prince Charming, she must choose between continuing to lay low and confidently standing tall.

Positive Elements

Jodi, although insecure about her height at first, gradually learns how to embrace her own body and to love herself. She eventually decides to stand tall and choose confidence. When that happens, others become attracted to Jodi’s self-assurance. She even learns that a perfect guy isn’t made perfect by his looks—or height—but by his heart.

Jodi’s best friend, Fareeda, constantly encourages Jodi and tells her friend that she's beautiful. Fareeda tells Jodi that she looks forward to the day when Jodi will be able to love and accept herself just as she is.

Jack Dunkleman, Jodi’s friend, has been in love with Jodi for years. Dunkleman often comes on strong, but even when he’s shot down, he defends Jodi’s honor when a group of students make fun of her behind her back. Jack compliments Jodi, telling her that she’s kind, beautiful and considerate. Jack also offers some sound advice to a few confused students.

Jodi’s loving, protective father struggles to understand his teenage daughter. He tries a few things, like inviting over a club of “tall people” to help Jodi feel comfortable in her own skin; but Dad's well-intentioned attempt backfires, making her feel even more awkward. Her dad also tells Jodi that he’ll “kill” the guy who stands her up. Jodi and her dad share a sweet moment as they play piano together. It’s clear that Jodi’s father wants her to know her self-worth and beauty (even though her rapid growth scared him when she was a child).

Harper, Jodi’s sister, and her mother, obviously love Jodi even if they have different ways of connecting with her and communicating their affection.

A teenager is grounded for throwing a party against his mothers’ knowledge. A few students apologize to Jodi.

Spiritual Content

Fareeda tells Jodi that not dancing before homecoming is “bad juju.”

Sexual Content

Jodi doesn’t view herself as desirable, unlike the popular Kimmy Stitcher who easily attracts any guy she wants. While Kimmy can effortlessly flirt, Jodi feels that she needs a total makeover to get guys to notice her. After she gets such a makeover, she feels confident enough to flirt. She even kisses Kimmy’s new boyfriend and the popular exchange student, Stig. Stig confesses his feelings for Jodi but can’t decide between her or Kimmy.

Harper is a pageant contestant who longs to embody the ideal image of beauty. She learns this primarily from her own mom, who was a popular pageant contestant, able to turn down suitor after suitor. Harper wears formfitting dresses, as do other contestants, and one of her shirts reveals a bit of her midriff. A woman wears a cleavage-baring top.

Dunkleman tells Jodi that if she ever gets pregnant in the future and has a tall baby, she’ll have to have a cesarean birth which will leave a “huge” scar across her “beautiful torso.”

Jodi tells a mean guy that she will kick in him the “gnards” if he makes fun of her again. A high school dance teams wear spandex shorts during a dance. Students dance together, and a few dance closely. Couples sit closely together, flirt and kiss.

Violent Content

Jodi’s older sister, Harper, throws knives at a picture of a fellow pageant competitor. Harper later displays that newfound skill as her talent at a pageant. Harper asks Jodi to slap her if she tries to eat carbs, and Jodi does so at one point.

Jodi, Dunkleman and a group of popular students make their way through a murder-themed escape room where skulls cover a table. Dunkleman accidentally flips over a car while riding a bike, and Jodi has to help him home. Two guys get into a fist fight and punch one another. Jodi karate chops a guy in the throat when she’s startled.

Jodi’s dad reads about a woman who tragically “died at 40” due to her height.

Crude or Profane Language

God's and Jesus’ names are each misused once. Other profanity includes one use each of “d--mit,” “d--n,” “h---,” “crap” and “biatch.” A guy is called a “jerk.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

None.

Other Negative Elements

Jodi has struggled with insecurities over her height for her entire life. Those self-doubts dominate her even more as rude classmates call her names such as “Bigfoot, skyscraper and LeBron James,” in one particularly painful litany of bullying. At a personal low point, Jodi researches height-reduction surgery.

Kimmy Stitcher, a rude, inconsiderate, arrogant classmate, is often the first to bully Jodi, calling her “ugly” and even making her cry by pretending to be Jodi’s crush on the phone. Other students, both male and female, ridicule Jodi for her size and appearance.

Jodi’s best friend, Fareeda, makes it clear that her parents haven't liked Jodi since she convinced Fareeda to pursue her love for fashion instead of studying to become a doctor.

Jodi’s sister can be shallow, and she's consumed by her physical appearance. She's willing to go to unhealthy extremes to fit into certain clothes. Jodi’s mother is obliviously inconsiderate of Jodi’s feelings.

Dunkleman throws a party at his house when his mother is out of town.

Conclusion

We all have something we don’t love about ourselves. Dry skin. Frizzy hair. Constant breakouts. But we don’t have to stay focused on our perceived flaws. What would happen if we learned to love ourselves instead?

This Netflix original teaches us to think about ourselves differently and to embrace a healthier definition of beauty, one in which we love what’s in the mirror and block out the opinions of the world.

Sounds like pretty solid advice to me. And that’s some of what you’ll get if you sit down to watch Tall Girl. Of course, you’ll also have to deal with a few imperfections, too, such as light language and a bit of mild sexual content.

Still, this movie's minor flaws aren't enough to knock Tall Girl down.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Author

Cast

Ava Michelle as Jodi Kreyman; Griffin Gluck as Jack Dunkleman; Sabrina Carpenter as Harper Kreyman; Paris Berelc as Liz; Luke Eisner as Stig Mohlin; Clara Wilsey as Kimmy Stitcher; Angela Kinsey as Helaine Kreyman; Steve Zahn as Richie Kreyman; Anjelika Washington as Fareeda; Rico Paris as Schnipper

Director

Nzingha Stewart ( )

Distributor

Netflix

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

September 13, 2019

On Video

September 13, 2019

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
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