Posted March 18, 2012 by Peter D. Marsay in Films

Tiny Furniture

Lena Dunham’s second feature film as writer, director and star is a

Lena Dunham’s second
feature film as writer, director and star is a semi-autobiographical
coming-of-age comedy.
Technically, it is several steps ahead of her last effort Creative Non-fiction, but covers much
the same ground about the life of a young woman, Aura (played by Dunham), with a frustratingly unknowable
future. In the former film she was
a student, whereas here she is a university graduate returning home to her
folks (played by Dunham’s actual family!) where she must either remember who
she is, or discover who she is going to be.

Aura drifts lazily between different aspects of her new life from
finding work, to relating to her family, and, most of all, looking for
boys. Unsurprisingly, the film
presents a distinctly feminine point of view, with everything from getting
dolled up to recently grown body parts getting a mention. Tiny Furniture is much more likely to
appeal to female audiences.

Aura finds herself meeting new faces, experimenting with drugs, sex
and finding a job. She goes to
parties, scolds her sister for filling the house with noisy teens and invites a
man she barely knows to live with her and share a bed. She fumbles through this early stage of
her none too eventful life, getting burnt here, finding pleasure there,
unsophisticatedly getting her bearings on her existence as many do. End of film. And that’s just the trouble, Tiny Furniture doesn’t have
much substance. It’s like a
dramatised diary entry of a woman in her mid-twenties put on screen for all to
see; you don’t have to be a psychoanalyst to spot Dunham’s inner exhibitionist.

The thing that is impressive is Dunham’s obvious growth as an
artist. Where Creative Non-fiction
looked frankly homemade, Tiny Furniture is shot with an elegant confidence
rarely seen from young filmmakers.
Though it may seem lacklustre, Tiny Furniture is a definite thrown
gauntlet for wannabe filmmakers everywhere to get off their posteriors, film
the scripts saved on their coffee-stained laptops and get them in front of an

The curious soundtrack by newcomer Teddy Blanks is infectious and uplifting, a perfect fit for
Dunham’s endearingly Woody Allen-esque
mumblecore work. Edit-wise the
film could have done without the final twenty minutes or so where Dunham finally succumbs to self-indulgent

Although most will likely find it an overlong navel-gazing fest, the
cheeky laughs and likable, if not memorable, vibe make this an undiminishable

Peter D. Marsay

Cameraman & video editor.