GRAPHIC BY DENISE THUONG
By GARY LEE
We have two choices. We can lay low, or we can stand tall.
On Sept. 13, Netflix released its new original movie, Tall Girl, starring Ava Michelle, Griffin Gluck, Sabrina Carpenter and much more. Directed by Nzingha Stewart, the rom-com follows the life of Jodi Freyman, a self-conscious high school junior who is constantly bullied for being too tall.
In the film, Jodi finds herself being teased and discriminated against due to her height. However, she sets her sights on new, foreign exchange student Stig Mohlin, who happens to be taller than her. Consequently, conflict ensues when Jodi gets caught in a love triangle with her best friend and the perfect guy of her dreams.
From the positive message to the remarkable acting, Tall Girl phenomenally delivers an empowering message of embracing individuality.
For one thing, the movie’s prominent emphasis on how important it is to stand tall in the midst of diversity captivates its audience—both young and old. Through Jodi, the movie was able to express the positives and negatives of diversity, as well as dealing with consequential mistreatment. In these days, the diversity of appearance is everywhere, but the fact that Jodi had to deal with theses problems makes her all the more relatable. For instance, instead of being portrayed as the cliche, innocent victim of bullies, the protagonist has her own, accountable flaws, whether it be her own actions or beliefs.
Additionally, the cast did an amazing job of portraying the real life experiences of high school. From the raw emotion to the suspenseful drama, Tall Girl definitely conveys cinematic gold. The actors were able to express the everyday high school experiences, such as the prom sequence and other events. From this, the story comes alive in embracing diversity in romantic relationships that were very realistic as they are very relatable to common high school dramas. Some cases include when true love is rejected, where people want to be loved for who they are or when people fall in love with the person they least appreciate.
Furthermore, to add to the film’s genuinity, Ava Michelle, who played Jodi Freyman, had similar issues to her character growing up, and was mistreated due to her height. The director Abby Lee Miller specifically stated, “Ava! You’re too tall for us today! You’re cut,” and thus she was kicked out of the show. Due to her discrimination, she felt as though she was stronger as ever since the incident. Consequently, when the critics and audiences leave hateful comments, she feels as though she is more confident and better equipped to handle the negativity. Through her acting she displayed the fact that she was not afraid to take risks and did not care about what others thought about her physical appearance.. Michelle remains strong and determined despite her many setbacks and discouragement she encountered at a young age.
When the movie was released, critics complained how the movie overly romanticizes the discrimination of tall girls. All in all, Tall Girl was not just an ordinary rom-com, but a unique, coming of age story that speaks truth on the importance of individuality. It utterly highlights the true meaning of accepting oneself, acceptance, and standing tall for what you believe in.
Thank you, Netflix, for creating an exceptional film that definitely does not fall short.