Do you have a time in your life when you just finished your degree and you could not find a job? You just start to question your life purpose and your dreams up to that point in your life? Feeling like you’ve never feel so clueless in your life? I know i have (probably still am in that point). Maybe this is why the simple premise of Tiny Furniture appeals to me.
22-years old Aura (Lena Dunham) returns home with more than a few bagages, she’s a fresh grad with a useless film theory degree from a university in Ohio, an ‘artistic’ yet underwhelming youtube video with 357 hits, just broke up with her first boyfriend, a dying pet hamster, and has zero idea of what to do with her life. Her successful art-photographer mother, Siri (Laurie Simmons), and her obnoxious, precocious little sister, Nadine (Grace Dunham), did very little to make her feel ease at their stark white TriBeCa Apartment with things hidden away in endless rows of white cabinets.
Aura is clueless, but thank havens she got an aide from her boho (but privileged) childhood best friend Charlotte (Jemima Kirke), she got a dead-end day job at a little restaurant, she founds two misguided (un)romantic possibilites in two different places, and she got a chance to show in some badly curated ‘art show’ in Brooklyn. Aura is, clearly, having a very, very hard time.
To be very honest, i’ve heard about this film around the time a new HBO series dubbed as Girls was announced and then i read the series is one of the most critically-acclaimed pilot that season, so i gave it a go, and did not like the first three episode and i’ve stopped watching. I did not gave this another thought before reading about it being released as a part of The Criterion Collection. And having just watched another Criterion movie (and saw the criterion list)I could not help but feeling rather curious.
Lena Dunham told us a raw story of Aura, a probable quasi-autobiographical feature (as Siri is a representation of her mother Laurie Simmons a real life, internationally successful, fine-art photographer and Nadine is a representative of Grace Dunham her sister who actually won a prestigious literary achievement at Brown) , a story which is just too familiar and appeal to me in a very visceral level. Aura appear as a very realistic representation of young woman or maybe amplified, she’s frumpy, carrying a bit of extra weight, lacking of self esteem, with more questions about her life with no one to answer her, definitely not a stereotypical girls that are usually portrayed on screen. She had 2 ill-fated flirts with two very different guys and yet similarly disinterested in her while still using her for their benefits. And not surprisingly, she tried her darnest to please the two no matter how undeserving they are, and ended up with a very, very desperate sex.
Filmed with unmoving, still frames the movie seems to deliver the life of Aura from her point of view, passively watching while everything else revolve around her. The phase iself was slow, winding up as slowly as Aura’s life unfold. But I can not help to be invested and emphatize in this humble story of Aura. The movie represented a realistic archetypes of individuals, presented in a very honestly and almost unforgiving. With dialogue that are smart and true to each character (and at one point i asume that this is leaning to the mumblecore genre, though apparently not according to Lana Dunham herself). This is definitely not a movie for anyone, and to be honest it probably wasn’t mine.
Tiny Furniture shows how a low budget indie movie but not by any means a low quality feature. Lana Dunham wrote, directed and acted in Tiny Furniture, a movie that got rave reviews and eventually lead into securing a TV series deal on HBO Girls (which i probably should re-watch
since i stopped back in episode three by the way) and produced by Judd Apatow. This movie won the Best Narative Feature in South by Southwest (SXSW) in 2010 and Best First Screenplay in Independent Spirit Awards in 2010.
Tiny Furniture did not screen in Indonesia, it was released for a limited time in the US. Tiny Furniture was released as a home media (both DVD and Blu-Ray) as a part of The Criterion Collection (spine number 597), on February 14, 2012. If you like the music of this movie, you can download the track for free at the official website.