Tall Girl

Sean is a Tall Boy. He is 6’6. Yes he played basketball. And rugby. And volleyball. And he swam, actually. All the things a lean tall boy should do, including nearly eating his poor mother out of house and home – his poor, moderately sized mother had 3 Tall Sons actually, and it seems a testament to her budgeting that she never had to take out a second mortgage to feed them. He expected to date a tall woman. Preferred to date a tall woman. I am not tall. Well, horizontally tall, maybe. Vertically: certainly not. I tap out at 5’3 when at my most erect. My little younger youngest sister likes to poke fun at my littleness by calling me “funsize” like the bullshit tiny Halloween chocolate bars. She is half an inch taller but it burns me and she knows it.

Anyway. Sean is tall. Jay is not. That’s a 15 inch difference between us. Yikes. But I made my peace with my height a long time ago. I’ve had plenty of time; I stopped growing in the fifth grade. I can’t reach the tall shelf and in most chairs my feet dangle without touching the floor but I clear a lot of tree branches without ducking and fit into all the sports cars that Sean has only seen the outside of (I did cram him into a Mazda Miata once but couldn’t bear to pull the trigger and sentence him to 5-7 years of Sean-origami. Sean deals with the back pain that leaning down to kiss me induces and I deal with the fact that my eyes are inconveniently located exactly at elbow height for him (“the danger zone” I call it). He lies diagonally on the bed and I fit in the triangle space on either side quite neatly. My shopping expertise means for the first time he has the right inseams and size 14 shoes that don’t suck.

Being a Tall Boy is actually a very nice thing, I take it. Like in the movie, people often ask him “How’s the weather up there?” (mostly old men) to which Sean gamely replies “Terrific!” But being a Tall Girl is a lot harder, especially a Tall Teenage Girl. Jodi is only 6’1 but fears her height defines her. She feels all too visible. Even boys her own height are intimated, but those who are shorter, who make up the majority, have zero interest. So whether or not the weather “up there” is nice, it’s awfully lonely. Which makes me feel a tiny bit guilty for taking a Tall Boy off the market when technically speaking a dude who is 5’7 is Tall Boy to me.

Of course Jodi (Ava Michelle) is also a bit oblivious because her best friend Jack (Griffin Gluck) has always been interested, if only she had cast her gaze slightly downward. Instead she looks only up, and eventually meets the eyes of the handsome (and tall, needless to say) exchange student Stig (Luke Eisner), who is sort of already taken. But with expert advice from her beauty queen sister Harper (Sabrina Carpenter), Jodi hopes to achieve Tall Couple status. Anyway, it’s easy to find sympathy for Jodi, who is indeed Going Through Something (and it’s not a growth spurt) (and so what if it was?) even when she’s not being her best self. It’s less easy to find forgiveness in your heart for some pretty lazy mean girl tropes and some random and unnecessary shaming.

For some reason boy-girl couples are supposed to have a height differential that only works in one direction. It’s arbitrary and nonsensical and yet deeply culturally ingrained. But you guys: it’s bullshit! It’s as stupid and useless as those teeny tiny chocolate bars. We don’t need to abide by rules that don’t make sense: reject that shit. Kiss people because they’re nice and smart and do good things in the world. My grandmother was (is) taller than my grandfather, and yeah they’re miserable but they’ve been married for 67 years and there’s every chance that at least the first 5 were crazysexycool (he had a motorcycle!).

Tall Girl makes tall girls feel seen, even if that’s the last thing they want. It’s not a great movie, but since it streams on Netflix there’s little investment and little to lose, in inches or dignity or any other measure.

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11 thoughts on “Tall Girl

  1. Christopher

    At 5’6″ I look up to most people, although getting romantic with someone taller than me, including my wife, has, I like to think, always been more of a choice than a necessity. In college I dated a girl who was 6’1″ and she was the one who asked me out. So I tend to fall for stories of people learning to accept their bodies.
    Also I know a lot of women who think Jon Stewart is one of the sexiest men alive. Just putting that out there.

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  2. Tom

    This is an adorable review (I hope that doesn’t sound condescending). I stand a proud 5 foot 11. The very definition of average, yet I am the summit of my entire family — immediate and distant 😀

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  3. Liz A.

    At 5’8″, I’m short for my family (save my mom who is shorter than you, Jay). My brother, 6’3″ (?? not 100% sure) found a 6’1″ woman. I think she’d probably relate to this movie.

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  4. StephLove

    North was telling me about this one. I think they related because they are notably short– about 4’11” at thirteen and a half and have always been sensitive about it. They’re desperate to hit five feet before they stop growing. (I’m 5’2” and I don’t remember how tall the donor was but an unremarkable height.)

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  5. Kendall

    Great review! I am not a fan of this move, but not because it is terrible. I feel like it is the same story that we have seen time and time again except this time…its about height. Oh, well. Happy for those who love it! And I feel the “short girl pain” I am 5’21” and the shortest in my family. This means I never see anything that is happening if there is a crowd. Fun times.

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  6. selizabryangmailcom

    6’6″ & 5’3″ ! So great !! 🙂
    Tall girl premise seems promising by itself: but sounds like no thinking out of the box to make it something other than predictable. Status quo once again. Everybody’s afraid to be mavericks. Oh, well.

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