I remember being excited to see this when Criterion announced they were adding it to their collection. And the backlash they received was highly amusing--when hoity-toity elitists get riled up about something, I generally put it high on my interests list. But the thing is, after seeing Tiny Furniture, I'm afraid I agree with them to a certain extent.
The lead character (Aura, played by director Lena Dunham) feels very real. However, the revolving cast around her (friend Candice, not-really-boyfriend Jed, sister Nadine, etc) all feel like odd caricatures--none really able to be more than Dunham's puppets to throw Aura through her terrible life.
And perhaps that is a problem compounded by Dunham playing her lead role. From what I've read, this is fairly autobiographical. And while it is an unflinching look at what is (presumably) a segment of Dunham's life, I also wonder if the film would have ended up better if she had stood back and allowed someone else to play her role. Not because Dunham isn't really a great actress (although she isn't)--but to help reign in the focus a bit from her.
The dialog is weird and stilted; at times (particularly in family conflict) this allows it to actually feel more real. Most of the time it merely serves as an annoyance. I think it was intended as a specific effect, but I found it more wearying than cool.
One of the things, however, that Tiny Furniture really succeeds at is in portraying the dynamic of family. The natural way the film moves between argument and love was especially effective. Few films can strike a realistic balance in normal, day to day interactions.