Tiny Furniture

25 Dec

Title: Tiny Furniture
Year:
2010
Director:
Lena Dunham
Writer:
Lena Dunham
Starring:
Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham, Jemima Kirke, Alex Karpovsky, David Call, Merritt Wever, Amy Seimetz
MPAA Rating:
Not rated
Runtime:
98 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
6.0
Rotten Tomatoes:
76%

 

Tiny Furniture was a really pleasant little surprise. A very small indie film that was just super lovely, and that has in Lena Dunham, it’s director, writer and lead actress, a very fresh talent that tells a story that seems very autobiographical, and that’s always amazing to watch unravel.

Seriously, this is a tiny film, one that feels like it was made for nothing and that is just full of that independent energy that so many people have been trying to cash in on lately, though few have managed to really acquire. It’s a witty film, a funny film, a sad film, it’s a lot of things, but most of all it’s just seriously well done. Which is surprising considering that Ms. Dunham, who’s only just twenty-four and this is only her second feature-length film, made this as a very small independent project, and yet it always feels like a really sharp and elegantly made film.

And I guess all the magic in display in Tiny Furniture comes exactly from that place. From Ms. Dunham doing it herself, and embedding such obvious passion in a project that, by having her direct and write a part for herself that’s actually a version of herself, not to mention that she had family and people she was close with act in it (her real mother and sister play her mother and sister here), made it all feel very real and pure. Seriously, this is all a very honest look at a very real topic, which is just, plain and simple, youth, and the confusions that come when facing the real world, and finding out that finding your way just as you leave college isn’t that easy, and that expectations many times need to be adjusted.

And I won’t stop praising Ms. Dunham. She has a very singular voice, and even though she’s so young she has an amazing sort of mature confidence in her talents, which is why it should come as no surprise that her next project has already found a home in HBO and has Judd Apatow as an executive producer. And even though the character she plays here in Tiny Furniture, and who is reportedly based on parts of her life, has a hard time figuring out what to do after college, you just know that Ms. Dunham always knew she was meant to write and direct films.

I’m currently in college, so I guess I really can’t relate to that time in your life when you leave school and are in that period of time between that and actually getting a job or something solid to do, not really knowing what to do with your life and just feeling restless. But if I can relate to it to some extent it really is all because of Tiny Furniture, which just takes a very real approach to it, as we see the character Ms. Dunham plays, Aura, at exactly that point of her life.

So here we have Aura, fresh off college and returning back home to Tribeca with a film degree, a recently canceled relationship and not really much of anything else. And it’s really funny to see the place Aura’s in, wanting a really cool job and then having to take one at a restaurant, wanting a place of her own but having to go back to living at home, wanting attention and love and getting really none from her mother and actually having to juggle two romantic prospects.

This is all done in the most amusing of ways by Ms. Dunham, because it at times really doesn’t look like a film in which things move from point A to point B, but rather it just lets things be, and feels like someone had just decided to film a girl’s everyday life, and it’s all the more compelling because of that. Plus the characters are all very cool. I especially loved Charlotte, Aura’s best friend who’s played by Jemima Kirke, an actress making her debut here, and one who I’ll keep an eye on because I thought she was just awesome.

This is a very simple film, yes, but it works so incredibly well. It’s all shot in a really straightforward way, the camera doesn’t move much, the performances all seem very genuine and the actors don’t feel like they’re acting. And it’s just, plain and simple, a starmaking vehicle for Ms. Dunham, who is so sure of herself and her abilities here that it’s amazing to see her display them in all their splendor, please make sure to see this if only to discover such a huge talent, and you’ll be like me, looking forward to anything you see next with her name on it.

This is a girl who managed to direct her family and friends, a task I can’t imagine to be that easy, and got this tremendous film as a result. A girl who didn’t concede and made her character a likable pretty girl, but instead grounded her in reality and made her a real confused one, at times a whiner, at times a bit frustrating, but always very much real. This is just a helluva statement from a beginner filmmaker, one that reads “Hey, this is me, Lena Dunham. I know what I’m capable of, and it’s time for you to do, too.”.

Grade: A-

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