Aura (Lena Dunham) returns home after graduating college and must readjust to life as an adult living at home.
Lena Dunham has just cropped up on my radar, and already she is my new girl crush. Perhaps I went about viewing her work the wrong way around, but after finishing Girls, I turned to Tiny Furniture.
Lena Dunham not only wrote Tiny Furniture, but she directed the film and took on the challenge of directing her actual mother and sister in the film. Not only does she manage this, she also coaxes remarkably honest performances from her actors and presents the post-college wilderness in a frank and relatable way.
As an actress, Dunham plays Aura as a character that anyone who has tried to find their way in life will relate to. Aura wanders through her family home and it is clear that she is trying to figure out when the concept of ‘home’ was lost to her. Her mother and sister are still there, but the comfort and warmth associated with returning to ones parents’ home has been lost. Aura does not belong at college any more, but neither does she belong in the world she has returned to and it is in finding where she fits that she hopes to ultimately find herself. Dunham is also remarkably free from vanity; she plays Aura as a fully rounded person, who can be amazing or terrible and everything in between. She also has no qualms about her body and wanders through the film in various states of undress.
Tiny Furniture does not try and portray Aura’s world in a manner we are used to in Hollywood cinema. Although every character speaks their mind to the point of bluntness, life in Tiny Furniture is messy and real. Sex is not a perfectly choreographed act; it is awkward and fumbling, families do not always support one another unconditionally, and people can sometimes be bastards, yet it is this that makes the film feel real and allows the audience to identify with the characters in the film. Dunham’s dialogue is sharp and, at times, brutal and the film examines difficult subjects with a light touch, and what could be a movie filled with despair and depression is actually rather funny… In a quirky, oddball kind of way.
In all, Tiny Furniture is a frank and honest look at those lost months between college and the real world. Lena Dunham has created an utterly believable world that will resonate with many viewers and because of this, she is a filmmaker to watch out for.