Tiny Furniture (2010)

Does staying at-home and going to community college count as the same experience?

Lena Dunham plays a Aura, a twentysomething gal who just broke-up with her boyf, lost her inspiration of what to do in life, and is now living with her artist mother and little sister. Aura is finding it hard to make sense of the world that she’s living in, mostly because she feels like she should be doing more with her life, and just isn’t. It’s a whole bunch of post-collegiate problems that nobody cares about, except for white people. We eat that shit up.

Here’s the type of flick I automatically expected to hate going in, but had the exact-opposite feeling afterwards. Here I was thinking that this was just another mumblecore movie where a bunch of people say and do quirky things, all for the fun and entertainment of people that love this type of stuff and why? Oh, because it’s an “indie movie” and their allowed to get away with all of that junk. This movie isn’t one of those that I rant against, and that’s all thanks to Lena Dunham, who, as you all know by now, is pretty much “The Shit”.

Dunham not only starred in this flick, but she directed and wrote it, and that self-reliance of knowing one’s self is what shines through the brightest here. The direction is nothing new, flashy, or original that won’t have you going crazy over night, but the screenplay is exactly that. Actually, I wouldn’t even say that the screenplay itself is anything new, flashy, or original, it’s just simple. But it’s so simple that it works and feels like real-life, where real people speak to one another, in a sometimes quirky-fashion, but still works because you believe in everything and everybody in the movie. You could totally tell that whatever the hell Dunham went through once she got out of college, is all packed into this screenplay for us all to see and hear, and that brutal honesty is what resonated with me the most because sometimes I feel like Aura, or Dunham for that matter.

Hanging out in pipes: totally normal.
Hanging out in pipes: totally normal.

Granted, I’m not necessarily in the same position as Aura is where she has a post-college life and is just trying to get her foot on the ground, but still, if you have ever felt lonely, sad, or just not able to make sense of the things around you, then this is most likely the type of film that you want to see because it will feel real and honest to you, almost as much as it did to me. Aura isn’t a walking-stereotype of the person that can’t seem to get her shit together, shut the hell up, and move on with her life, but just a person who thought she had it all, and got it snatched-away from her in a single second, without an idea of what the hell to do. I’m sure that I speak for most of us out there and say that yes, we have all felt like that at least during one point of our lives. If not, you gotta start living, man!

As much as I may make this movie seem like a total debbie-downer, that isn’t what Dunham’s all about. She’s about showing us the crazy-situations we roll through in life, and just how we can get by them just by being ourselves. You can not only tell that Dunham is her original-self through the script and direction, but through her performance as well. There’s this certain essence of just being plain, original, and nothing but the truth that feels more realistic than anything else in this movie, and made me wonder how much of it she was acting. Dunham obviously isn’t the hottest bean in the soup, but I don’t think she cares about that and neither should we. She absolutely gets by on just being herself and telling others to shove it, which is what I always love in my women, especially my leading-actresses. Dunham’s “no-charm” act is what probably what makes her so charming in the first-place and I can’t wait to see what she has to do next for film, whenever she gets a break from Girls.

The rest of the cast is filled with a bunch of no-names, but each and everyone are just like Dunham in the way that they feel emotionally-honest and true, almost to the point of where it doesn’t seem like they’re acting. The fact that Dunham cast her real-life mommy and sissy was really smart and builds up a sweet-chemistry between them all that fits within the context of the story, and shows you that even if you do get in fights with your fam and have disagreements, at least you can always go back to them because no matter what; they love you underneath it all. I know I would never be able to make a movie with anybody from my fam, but hey, good for Lena. Sure she makes them all proud. Once again, nothing flashy, new, or original, but they all nail their roles and show what it’s like to be young, a bit wild, a bit nasty, a bit grumpy, a bit free, but always dumb with the things they do or say. As I said before, I think I speak for everybody else out there when I say, we all know exactly what that means.

Next time you get depressed, go play with small antiques of furniture. Always cheer ya back up!
Next time you get depressed, go play with small antiques of furniture. Always cheer ya back up!

The only problem that I actually felt with Dunham’s movie is that I feel like it goes on and on and on for so long (an hour and 39 minutes, okay), but never really has much of a point. Maybe I missed the point when I was laughing my ass off at the humor that Dunham has, but the overall-message of this movie seemed to be lost as soon as that wacky and surprising third-act comes into play, and we realize it’s a bit more serious than we expected. However, even if it is serious, I still never really felt like I knew quite where Dunham was getting at with this story or what she was trying to say. Being with family is great? Being with family sucks? Love your parents even if they piss you off? Don’t have unprotected sex? I don’t know what, but the main message of this movie seemed to be skewered out of nowhere, and it didn’t really hit me as hard as the rest of the movie. That being said, it was still a pretty good movie that just so happened to have the unfortunate problem of not knowing what to say, mean, or end.

Consensus: Tiny Furniture is one of those loose, simple, sweet, and to the point movies where the story happens right in front of your eyes where people act like people, things are done, and words are exchanged, but at the end of the day: that’s just life, yo.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

See! Not every dude and girl lying in bed needs to bang. Although it wouldn't be so bad if they did, just saying.
See! Not every dude and girl lying in bed needs to bang. Although it wouldn’t be so bad if they did, just saying.


  1. I can’t remember a film I’ve hated as much as this one, in recent times. I really couldn’t stand Aura as a character. I thought she was self-entitled, spoilt, privileged and ungrateful. I’m in a very similar position to her right now (graduated with a film degree, working shitty jobs) and couldn’t sympathise with her at all.

    I actually didn’t find this film very sincere because Aura comes from such a rich family, so there’s no real consequences for her if she fucks up. She had the support of everyone around her but she constantly moans, whines and acts like a child. She keeps talking about this degree she has but at no stage does she show she has any talent. Never does she try to change the situation she’s in by getting herself out there. Everyone does the hard work for her and she wastes every opportunity.

    The only positive I can muster is that her mother’s flat was nice-looking and the cinematography was clean. But I agree with you when you – I really don’t know what Lena Dunham was trying to accomplish with this film. This is more a character study but I hated the character.

    Sorry for the essay, haha!

    • Hey, it’s all good man. I see all your points and you aren’t wrong, it’s just that I didn’t mind her as much as I meant what this whole movie was supposed to say about growing-up and getting past your college years. That part didn’t seem right to me.

  2. Strong review. It’s basically how I felt about it, not strong, but not bad at all. You need to be in the right mood to see this. If you’re not in the mood you’ll probably hate this flick.

  3. Hi Dan – you commented on my blog and now I shall follow you. I love movies and actually write reviews for a paper in San Saba TX – a town without a theater. Ha. Anyway – you absolutely nailed it on Tiny Furniture. For a short movie it seemed long, and yet had great moments.
    Thanks for visiting. I do reviews once or twice a month on my blog.

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