Mumblecore movies often split both critics and audiences.
Mumblecore movies often split both critics and audiences. For every Duplass gem (Cyrus, Jeff Who Lives At Home) there’s
an equally divisive Miranda
July effort (The Future)
– not everyone is going to love every low-budget independent film are they? So
where does newcomer Lena
Dunham fit into this
fairly crowded genre?
Well, with a
role in Judd Apatow’s This is
40 later this year and her
own HBO show Girls airing soon too, you could argue
Dunham is very much the bright star in a gently twinkling universe. To see what
caught everyone’s attention therefore, her semi-autobiographical tale Tiny Furniture makes for interesting viewing.
Aura, recently graduated from college and facing the difficult prospect of
returning home to live with her (real life) mother and sister in Tribeca. Her
boyfriend’s dumped her and things don’t look too rosy for someone with a Film
Theory degree and little else. However it’s not long before she bags a job and
attracts the attention of the broke Jed (Alex
Karpovsky) and her fellow employee Keith (David Call).
brought up on a diet of semi-scripted bilge like The Hills or TOWIE,
Dunham’s debut feature – which she wrote and directed – might at first appear
almost documentary-like, such is the level of naturalism on display. Her
decision to cast her own family in the tale certainly maintains the realism,
leading to some affecting scenes between both sisters and fabulously cathartic
rows with her mother when Aura starts to struggle with the levels of mediocrity
that, while Tiny Furniture might sound like it’s going to be a
naval-gazing, soul-searching slice of mid-twenties diatribe, it’s actually
rather funny, bearing comparisons made by other critics to Tina Fey, Zach Braff
and, impressively, Woody Allen.
While there’s nothing quite as deliciously hilarious to compete with the
latter’s output, one scene in which she enlists her pretty friend Charlotte (Jemima Kirke) to help her break up her sister’s
house party merits particular attention for its well-earned chuckles.
there’s little overall plot to speak of, moving as it does within the rather
monotone world Aura inhabits, Tiny
Furniture shows Dunham packs
plenty of promise in such a small packaged world. Her decision to end on a
rather featureless note speaks volumes about her character’s approach to her
plight; that in a world where having sex in a metallic street pipe is a rare
highlight, you just have to make the best of it all you can. Unlike Aura
though, expect to see Dunham rival Fey for aspiring female writer of the year.
So, it’s more gently
witty rather than LOL hilarious, Tiny
Furniture is both an ode and
wake-up call to slackers the world over. Act.