Tiny Furniture Reviews
The pacing though........................its like molasses............ One minute felt like Two. I was watching saying how much is left..... I'm only 35 minutes in WHAT?! I felt like it was at least an hour. Little progression from each scene
Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... At least her heart was in the right place.....
It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to realize that Dunham came to make "Tiny Furniture" because her mother's artistic success has given her a very privileged and monied existence. But when it comes to "Tiny Furniture" the advantage of opportunity is actually what fuels this surprisingly refreshingly self-aware film.
Essentially, if for some reason you've never seen it, this is Lena Dunham playing an almost cringe-worthy version of herself. Her highly respected artist mother plays the mother and Dunham's real-life sister plays her sister. And much of the film itself it filmed in her mother's NYC expansive condo. Dunham had just graduated from college when she made this film about a wanna-be artist who returns "home" after completing her education. "Aura" is trying to figure it all out.
Her mother and her sister would just be happy if she would find a job and get her own place, but "Aura" feels she has "earned" the right to take a bit of time off to figure things out regarding her future and what she wants out of life. Upon her arrival home she encounters an old pal who is as "damaged" as she is a bad influence on Aura. Aura gets into arguments with her mother and sister. She lets her only "real" friend down in favor of just hanging out at home complaining or hanging with her old pal. She secures a job in which she is most certainly a sort of set up for failure and a way too low paycheck. She sets out on a lame attempt at two "relationships" which are really more about sexual experimentation than seeking "love" -- one of these two "men" seems a to be too realistic and logical for Aura. She seems more interested in a fellow lost hipster. When she is finally able to secure his seduction it leads to an uncomfortable sort of variation toward sexual abuse than "encounter." All the while, Aura is really more interested in testing the limits with her mother, figuring out her mother's admittedly odd approach to home organization and her mother's obsessions with tiny objects for an upcoming art project.
What makes this low-fi movie so very important is that Dunham is truly fearless in her ability to use her all too self-aware sense of false entitlement, spoiled adult-woman-child, self-centered obsessions and her casual disregard for others.
No matter how one looks at it, "Tiny Furniture" is an often funny and painfully insightful examination of a spoiled rich kid "buying time" until the sprit moves her to do something. Anything. And it's razor sharp observations are all the more potent and "real" because they are being made by the young woman who has written, directed and staring as a not-so-fictional version of herself.
This is cinematically ballsy film in which the artist is so clearly aware of her character and herself that the film actually goes to great lengths to remind us that Aura is spoiled rotten adult for whom everything is given too easily. And none of this is played for cheap laughs. In fact, much of this film takes us to some very dark and sad realizations.
For all of her bravado and tenacity, Aura is riddled with self-doubt and self-loathing. She is desperate for acceptance, love and forgiveness. The problem is her desperation is not as strong as her laziness.
This is a time capsule moment of a film even if Lena Dunham has not achieved such huge success after "Tiny Furniture" came out. It is worth noting that this film is so very good that Criterion fought to release it for DVD/Blu-Ray and VOD distribution. And it says a great deal that Paul Schrader was eager to offer an interview about the film and its maker's importance. As the great Schrader praise Dunham's achievement, he also offers a great deal of pause regarding whether or not Dunham has the sort of talent or personality who will be able to navigate the current and ever-changing rules of the Entertainment Industry. He basically shrugs his shoulders: Paul Schrader has no idea it "Tiny Furniture" will be a one hit wonder or if there is a future for Dunham.
I think we all know the answer.
The bummer is that I doubt we will ever see Lena Dunham manage to do what she does here. Her hit HBO TV Show was initially an interesting take on wealthy self-entitled "Girls" has de-evolved into a sort of provocative celebration of this entitlement. It may not be the intention, but that is how "Girls" and nearly everything she has written, said or done since this amazing film was released.
What price fame. But no matter what she does or doesn't do -- Lena Dunham made an amazing film. "Tiny Furniture" is a very important film. It should not be missed.