Sunday, January 1, 2012

Under 250: Tiny Furniture

Now 25-year old writer/director/star Lena Dunham's New York talkie Tiny Furniture may have come out at the tail-end of 2010, but I only just got around to seeing it now, and the DVD won't surface until Criterion puts it out in February.  As extremely low-budget indie films go, Dunham has managed something elegant, thoughtful, and just juvenile enough to cast off its pretensions.  She's cast herself as Aura, a recent college graduate who returns from the wilds of Ohio to her mother's spacious Tribeca apartment and her affluent, artsy friends.  Aura is suffering from that post-graduate coma many of us take on: suddenly back at home, completely broke, suffering from a lack of independence and a conflicted desire both to wallow comfortably and to flee.  It's a story that speaks for itself, but Dunham has written some of the most realistic 20-something female dialogue to come around the bend in recent memory.  She's captured Aura perfectly, and penned the relationships between her younger sister and friends with a sharp ear.  These are women who are still girls, and who aren't sure if they're ready to take that next leap though they insist to their elders that they're capable.  It's nice to see the 20-something arrested development limbo approached from a female mindset, though Dunham's characters make decisions just as poor as any Apatow bro.  Yet, while the characters may drift towards slightly melodramatic hipster extremes in their off-moments, the film is fantastically funny and fresh, quietly acknowledging its errors in judgment in ways that feel surprising.  Tiny Furniture is less mumblecore, more teen girl Woody Allen or down-to-earth Whit Stillman.  A little austere, a lot neurotic, but subtly, cynically comic.   

1 comment:

  1. That review just caught my curiosity. I'm going to find a copy of that movie as soon as I can.


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