Lena Dunham’s feature-length film is a confident debut, it’s about a 20-something who has recently graduated and is unsure of what to do next. After breaking-up with her ‘feminist-conscious boyfriend’, she decides to move back-in with her mother and sister, in New York, while she works ‘stuff’ out.
Dunham has received a great deal of praise for Tiny Furniture and it’s easy to see why. And, due to the success of this film, she wrangled herself a contract with HBO to write, direct and star in their newest production, GIRLS -and unsurprisingly, both have a striking similarity.
I found Dunham’s performance (as Aura) disarming and fascinating, but Tiny Furniture isn’t without its problems. Undeniably, it has the potential to be quite divisive, and you will, either love it or hate it. Personally, I found the Aura character to be simply fantastic: she’s funny, frumpy, sexy, neurotic, narcissistic and witty, and all of the things that female protagonist’s usually aren’t allowed to be. In short, Aura isn’t a stereotype -she’s a well-rounded ‘character’, with warts and all. And for added Meta kudos, Dunham’s assured semi-autobiographical film, even stars her real mother and sister, as her onscreen family.
While I was enamoured with Aura, the rest of the cast and setting -in particular the whole ‘Tribeca art-scene thang’ -just irritated. This is why the film will divide its audience, because you’ll either forgive Tiny Furniture’s quirky, art-house indulgences, or you will want to waterboard the film’s entire cast and crew. There’s not much leeway between love and hate.
Tiny Furniture begins and ends with Lena Dunham, she is quite simply the glue which holds the film together -it’s her film in every sense. If you can overlook its eccentricities and embrace one of the best female characters in recent years, you’ll have an absolute blast.
I’ve tried to think of a contemporary female character who compares to Dunham’s, Aura, but it’s impossible -they’re simply aren’t enough female protagonists of this calibre. Dunham might not be the best actress, but she’s clearly a very talented writer and director, and by all accounts she’s a star with a very bright future -and rightly so.