I wasn't sure what to expect from this film, but what I discovered was a creatively expressive tale of an average young woman's transition from graduating university into the world. Lena Dunham impressively wrote, directed and starred in this film showing her renaissance woman capabilities and following in her role-model Woody Allen's footsteps. I appreciated the honesty with which she displays herself and her story as well as the gutsiness she has to bare-all before the camera, despite her being of an average physique with a unique fashion sense. I wish I had this gumption at her age, because all women are far too hard on themselves regarding their body when we are young.
I empathize with Dunham as a fellow woman with an artistic temperament and also for her “coming into womanhood” story. I think all women have their painful and/or exciting tales regarding their initial attempts at relationships, jobs and transitioning towards independence. While you may feel like punching the girl in the vagina for being such a pushover to men and a brat to her family, she portrays a realistic character; learning to be an adult while portraying a certain level of innocence, exploration and 'desire to connect' that many young women experience at this time in their life, resulting in good and bad experiences.
There is so much here in this single amateur film, that it is impressive. It plays almost like an older My So-Called Life episode without the internal dialogue, instead this film is carried by a natural way of chatting that is intruiging enough to keep you watching and some unique people. Aura's best friend is the eye candy, and the filmwork, though not overly vibrant, was fairly well done. I am especially glad they didn't use a handheld and that the sound was level. Though a couple scenes were not delivered the most fluently, overall; I appreciated the honest temperament and subtle creativity of the film.
One thing I like about this film is that; it has guts, while not being overly pretentious. I also thought the setting of her mother's house was perfect for displaying her family life in, (this is purely my opinion from the outside of things as I know nothing of her actual family life and this film is somewhat autobiographical) because it is so sterile-looking yet, artsy. There are “messy artists” and there are more “modern, organized, clean-line ” type artists, like her mom. I love how whenever Lena's character, Aura, asks for something her mom replies, “It's up in the white cupboard”, and then u see that the entire wall is made from white cupboards, so Aura has to look through them all. It is just one example of the slight detatchment Aura's mother has with her, and Aura is often seeking to connect with her in one form or another; by reading her diaries or sleeping in her bed. It is the expression of how a young woman wants to gain something from her mother's experience of her 20s, while still wanting to connect as a child to her mother. It is one of the many ways that Lena (Aura) shows her vulnerability at this stage in her life; this particular way with some grace.
I appreciated some of the scenes that show metaphorical significance as well; like when Aura has said goodbye to Jed and slumps into the deflating mattress, showing her emotional deflation and the ending,where the mother is irritated by the ticking of the alarm clock. Time is always going by, It subtly alludes to the inevitable adulthood just on the verge of Aura's future.
I wonder; where does the title Tiny Furniture come from? Does it imply 'playing house', I would almost pick a different plot-line for that allusion... the Tiny Furniture here is one unique artistic way that Aura and her mother connect; they both like them and have perhaps used them in their artforms. Perhaps Aura, at this time in life felt as if she was “stuck” and merely existing, as a piece of furniture, and sometimes being used for other people's purposes? I am probably overanalyzing it, but I'd like to know.
In any case, Tiny Furniture is a great debute film in my opinion and I commend Lena for her brave, all-in, forthright and sincere artistry.