Oceans 11 came out 20 years ago this week. Read my post from yesterday on the film and its influence here. And now, it is I, Real Science Person Doing Real Science, back to answer a singular question plaguing our land for far too long: How tall IS Julia Roberts in Ocean’s 11? To conduct these experiments, I engaged in a faultless scientific process involving a tape measure, my television, and the internet, and as a control group, I also examined how tall Julia Roberts is in Notting Hill. I will now present to you my extremely scientific findings using a scale that establishes Julia Roberts’ height as relative to the men standing around her. My assistant for this endeavor is Day Rosay, who has since been fired for impertinence and a brazen disregard for lab safety.
The control group
In Notting Hill, Julia Roberts is shown to be approximately half a head shorter than Hugh Grant, regardless of footwear (in some scenes: heels, in others: sneakers, always: half a head shorter). Also in Notting Hill, Hugh Grant’s hair is found to be deeply swoopy. Julia Roberts’ height in this film is inversely proportional to the degree of swoop in Hugh Grant’s hair. Therefore, she is: As tall as Hugh Grant’s hair swoops.
Beginning our research
To begin, I googled “how tall is Julia Roberts” and the internet told me that she is five feet, nine inches tall. It is important to note that, as with celebrity net worth, the internet is always wrong about celebrity heights. But I begin with “five-nine” as my base recording for Julia Roberts’ height. The internet also says that both Brad Pitt and George Clooney are five-eleven, and Andy Garcia is five-ten. I have seen Brad Pitt up close. He is not five-eleven, so all of these men are as tall as the internet thinks Julia Roberts is.
The next phase
For the next phase of research, I paused Ocean’s 11 at various points and measured the spaces between everyone’s heads to gauge relative height in a scene, but I forgot to write anything down. Day Rosay is a useless assistant, and did not record any data, either. I do remember that in most scenes, George Clooney and Brad Pitt appear to be the same height, in accordance with the internet’s (wrong) assumption about their heights. There are a few moments where Pitt is a little bit taller than Clooney, and others where Clooney is taller than Pitt. The prospect of counting these instances to see if they come out even is exhausting.
I am also now wondering how tall is Amal Clooney, as she is usually as tall as, if not slightly taller than George Clooney in photos, but she is also always wearing heels. The internet thinks she’s five-nine, like Julia Roberts. Does the internet just think everyone is the same height? A question for another time.
There are various tricks to hide height on film. People stand on apple boxes to seem taller, or sit down to negate a significant height gap, or groups are staggered so that everyone appears on the same level. For instance, in Tess’s first meeting with Danny in Ocean’s 11, Roberts is seated at a table while Clooney approaches, then sits down with her. Height is negated. Yet when Tess is walking around the casino on her own, Roberts towers over pretty much everyone she passes in the frame. My hypothesis is that Julia Roberts is taller than George Clooney, and the film is working to make that not true.
The film cannot make up its mind if Julia Roberts is taller than Andy Garcia. Upon learning that Tess is dating Terry Benedict, Saul exclaims, “She’s too tall for him!” But Tess is not markedly taller than Terry Benedict. She does sport a beehive hairdo during the heist, which adds a few inches to Roberts’ height, but even with the beehive, Tess isn’t towering over Terry Benedict. In fact, in the boxing scenes, after the lights go out, Tess is, from one shot to the next, taller and then shorter than Terry Benedict. So Tess is “too tall” for Terry Benedict, a man that she is, at best, only slightly taller than some of the time.
There is no question that Julia Roberts Is Tall. It’s only a matter of How Tall Is She. But with no consistency as to how tall anyone is from scene to scene, Ocean’s 11 does not seem to know how tall Julia Roberts is. I can only conclude that in Ocean’s 11, Julia Roberts is nine feet tall, and everyone else is six inches tall, and the entire movie is devoted to tricking us into thinking everyone is the same height, and the internet fell for it.