Tiny Furniture: Life After Graduation is Bleak
Grace DunhamLaurie Simmons...
Semi-autobiographical Tiny Furniture tells the story of Aura (Dunham), a fresh graduate who, due to
the dismal job market, has moved back in with her mother and overachieving
younger sister. Tiny Furniture shows
how she readjusts to her old life, tackles her crummy first job and starts
dating again after being dumped by her college boyfriend.
The film is an interesting as a companion piece to Girls, writer/director Lena Dunham’s TV
show, which shares similar preoccupations and themes with her debut film.
The film suffers from a low budget and the lack of experience of those
involved. The camera work and lighting are reminiscent of student films and the
script rambles and is sometimes inconsistent, yet there are a few really great
lines that point to potential. The supporting characters exist solely in
relation to Aura and drop out of the film whenever they fulfil their purpose.
Despite the limited material they’re given, the actors do a good job with their
roles. Kirke and Karpovsky in, both of whom also star in Girls, particularly stand out.
The film’s strength lies in how it portrays the feeling of being stuck
between childhood and adulthood. Technically, Aura has finished college and is
thus an adult. What actually happens is that by moving into her
childhood home again, she regresses back to her old life. It’s much harder
figuring out who you are when you don’t have to worry about surviving and
there’s someone coddling you all the time. It’s definitely a very privileged
problem to have, which the characters are aware of, but it’s also one that many
of us can relate to.
There’s a lot of great material and ideas here, ones that will strike a
chord with people going through the same phase, but they’re drowned in both the
inconsistent and crowded nature of the film. One idea that could have been far
more resonant was how Aura, in her loneliness, clung to new friends with both
hands and became far too attached far too soon. However, the characters are too
broadly drawn for that.
Nonetheless, Dunham shows a flair for finding humour in
the awkward aspects of life. When it clicks, you’ll be laughing your head off,
only it won’t necessarily be a happy laugh; it’ll most likely be because what’s
on screen is painfully real and you’ve gone through it before or know that
it’s coming up in the near future.