Now, I’m not talking about Sylvanian Families. If I were then I’d definitely feature my only memory of them – my friend Emma who smashed hers up after her parents divorced. If she couldn’t have a family neither could they. She had a point. No I’m talking about the release of actor, director and all round artist and writer Lena Dunham’s first feature film, Tiny Furniture.
Inspired by her own life, the film opens on Aura (played by Dunham) returning from university. She didn’t quite “find herself” there. In fact she seems to have lost herself. Completely. Something her sister Nadine (played by Dunham’s real sister) suggests is her, “epilogue to felicity”.
As well as being in her own self-confessed “post-graduate delirium” this film is about more than leaving university. Themes of becoming an adult but still living like a child with adult problems; sibling rivalry; family life and finding love, are just some of the issues this film so cleverly weaves through; never feeling too heavy but instead very real, full of moments of truth.
Speaking for a ( and maybe not her) generation growing up later, Aura is endearingly hopeless and not always through her own doing. Although it seems to be a somewhat middle class preoccupation (almost luxury), Dunham’s message still works, whispering- it’s ok not to know what you want to do, I don’t either.
Finding yourself and indulging in the getting lost is becoming less uncommon in film. With Miranda July’s The Future and Mike Mills’ Beginners being just two of the many recent films to focus on a twenty – thirty-something crisis. They’re looking at the little things, the everyday.
Sincere and playful, Tiny Furniture is certainly following and extending this wave. What’s more Dunham (or rather Aura) is leading a new slacker generation. Her work colleagues, friends and “little bit famous” on youtube friend, Jed, also relish in doing nothing. Contradictorily it is a necessity to do so in order to get somewhere. And this is where most of the film’s humour comes from. Most accurately summed up as Aura’s mum (again played by her real mum (it’s a family affair)) asks her daughter’s friend, “Do you have the same sense entitlement as my daughter?” To which she replies half naked, “Oh believe me, mine is much worse”.
A moment in life we can all identify with, it is surprisingly funny and compelling to watch. If I could I’d have happily watched Aura’s whole year. It is my year and your year at one time or another. So I urge you, go get lost in Dunham’s Tiny Furniture.