Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Devouring Films: Tiny Furniture
Or was it..? Tiny Furniture was definitely not what I was expecting, but I don't mean that in a bad way at all. Here's the deal. Basically everything I read about Tiny Furniture was like 'it's a film about a young woman who's struggling to find her way after graduating from college and just doesn't really know what to do with herself', and so I went OMG it's my life! I mean, admittedly she gets to go and live in New York City after graduation in her mother's gorgeous loft (Her actual mother's actual loft) and she's got a lot of financial support and stuff, but other than that I was sure, positive that this film would be like validation, or at least comfort, for being in my twenties and not having a clue what the fuck I'm doing.
And, admittedly, there is an element of that. Aura (Dunham) is a very very lost soul, and really doesn't know what she's doing- her friend Charlotte (Jemima Kirke, equally lost but in a different way) sets her up with a job that she's completely overqualified for, but she literally has no idea what else she should be doing, so she's content just to float along and grab onto whatever comes along. Which is true, not only of this terrible job, but of the men she encounters- she basically meets 2 different guys, and decides to take whatever she can from either of them. There's no thinking about what she wants from a relationship, or anything like that, it's just about clinging onto one or the other of them, at various times, and just seeing what happens. This is a girl without any kind of plan.
And, actually, now that I'm thinking about it like this, it feels like I can relate more to Aura: I've been thinking about Tiny Furniture more in terms of 'well, she got a job straight away, and she lives in NYC, and look at those boys she interacts with!' but really... she lives with her mum, and doesn't have a proper source of income, and, well, now that I think about it, I can relate to that. A lot. One of my favourite things about Tiny Furniture, actually, is the relationship between Aura and her mother (played by Laurie Simmons, Dunham's actual mother- I'm thinking she couldn't afford actual actors...) because, well, it feels really genuine (probably because it is) and you get the feeling that what Aura really wants is a kind of regression, where her mum tells her what she should be doing, and then she can just go and and do it already! Or is that just me...
There are just so so many things I haven't mentioned about this film yet (overachieving sister, left-behind college friends, her mother's own related experience of being in her 20s and not knowing what she's doing) but, you know, maybe I'll let you discover them for yourselves, since you're obviously going to watch it now that I've told you I love it! If you've seen Girls (and if you haven't, come on people! It's like the show of the year, seriously!) then I would say Tiny Furniture is not quite as good as that, but then they are quite different (although they do deal with some of the same themes, i.e. what the fuck do you do in your twenties?) so it's not really fair to compare. Even though I just did. Hm.
And, one final piece of advice to you- watch the short films on the DVD! Seriously- the first time I watched it I started watching them and then got distracted, but they're really really funny, and watching them shows quite a good progression from them to Tiny Furniture- in some ways, you're like 'wow, her filmmaking has progressed so much!' and in others you're just like, well, there was clearly something there from the very start! Basically, I love Lena and I want to marry her. That's a normal dream to have, right?