Written and Directed by: Lena Dunham
Is it possible to want to grow up and be like someone that is your own age? If so, then I want to grow up and be like Lena Dunham. Even if you didn’t go through the post-college limbo into the adult world you can still relate to this film, Tiny Furniture. It is a film about returning to that familiar place (in her film it was her mother’s studio loft) and finding that things aren’t as you left them, the people have changed, the light bulbs are in a different drawer, and you are an outsider.
Lena Dunham creates Aura, a true 20 something year old that graduated at the wrong time and doesn’t have “that thing” that is her own. Recently people figured how to use technology as the means to put their own personal lives out there, via video-podcast, instagram, or facebook updates. This practice can in fact come off as “desperate” (as her younger sister states). But it is the lastest fad and Dunham mirror’s her audience’s own obsession with self entitlement. She doesn’t do it in a mean way but in an honest respect. She has a character that is “internet famous” and treats him as if he was actually something. Aura also has youtube videos of her own and puts one in an art show, even though she feels they may not be right “in an art context.” Not only is this an autobiography for Dunham, but it creates more than just voyeurism for viewers, it summons empathy.
Her casting of her real mother and sister was a joy to watch. Their interaction was real and didn’t seem intrusive. Her sister played a true 15 year older and didn’t dumb down the youth. I love when Aura (Lena Dunham) tells her mother that she wants to be as famous as her younger sister, it shows her support and love for her already scholarly accomplished sister, not jealousy. It was genuine to see three strong women of different age groups interacting off of one another. By using her sister and mother I believe that the shooting technique of these long one shots with the focus going back and forth on the characters was possible due to their authenticity. These women are playful yet straightforward with one another. There is an intimate moment where Aura rubs her mother’s back and jokingly her mother states she could always become a massage therapist. She follows it by saying, “You have a very intuitive touch.” And that is how I feel about Dunham’s work. Her work is instinctive and she follows through with it. She doesn’t base things on the Hollywood moving making ideals, but on her own point of view.
This film, as well as the others I am writing about for this month, is available to watch instantly on NetFlix. So celebrate Female Filmmaking and watch it! Happy Women’s History Month!