From New York-based (and Jewish) 23-year-old filmmaker Lena Dunham comes the ferociously funny Tiny Furniture, in which a girl reintegrates to the hustle and bustle of NYC after college in Ohio. It’s tempting to label this one as a “coming of age” story, but that really undersells it. No-one stares into puddles, mirrors or other reflective surfaces. Instead, the film’s protagonist, Aura, played by the director, lives in a world populated with parties, art shows and sex in precarious places. You know, like all New Yorkers.
After graduation, Aura heads home to New York City where she can’t decide which boy she wants to shtup more. Her mother, Siri, and sister, Nadine, are played by Dunham’s actual (fairly Jewy) family members. Furthering the veritÃ© mystique, Dunham, like her character, recently attended a small liberal arts college in Ohio. Then there’s the setting: an absolutely stunning, minimally designed TriBeCa loft. Guess what? It’s the actual apartment Dunham and her family live in now. It may seem a silly thing to be impressed by non-actors playing themselves in their own home, but the trick casting leads to truly genuine performances.
Though the ennui of the upper-middle class isn’t new territory, Dunham’s writing is marked by a refreshing lack of irony: The straightforward script draws the viewers in, bring them to a place of genuine laughter and understanding. Aura snags her mother’s laptop and asks, “Did you just Google cupcakes?” This silly, throwaway line tells more about their awkward, disconnected viewpoints of technology than any pretentious monologue. That’s the charm here: Tiny Furniture is smart without rubbing your face in it. Neither glitzy nor gritty nor cynical, Dunham’s film speaks to those who actually live in the greatest city on earth — capturing that lost, hapless period right after the collegiate years — without alienating those who don’t.
To find out more about Tiny Furniture and writer/director Lena Dunham, click here.