Tiny Furniture (2010)

tiny furniture poster 2010 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Taps into the struggles that everyone has when graduating

Dunham's character gets annoying fast, unrealistic world for the character

Movie Info

Movie Name: Tiny Furniture

Studio: IFC Films

Genre(s): Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):  March 15, 2010 (South by Southwest)/November 12, 2010 (US)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

tiny furniture lena dunham alex karpovsky

Can I complain to you about my awesome apartment flat in TriBeCa?

Aura (Lena Dunham) has graduated from film school, broken up with her long-term boyfriend, and finds herself stuck back in her home with her mother (Laurie Simmons) and her sister Nadine (Grace Dunham) with no job.  Aura tries to navigate her way through her post-college world, she finds being an adult is a lot harder than she expected.

Written and directed by Lena Dunham, Tiny Furniture is a comedy drama.  The film was released to positive reviews, and the Criterion Collection gave the film a release as part of their collection (Criterion #597).

Post-college is stressful.  Fortunately, I didn’t have a horribly long post-college job search, but many, many people do.  When you find a job, it isn’t often what you expected or hoped for and it can sometimes feel like you are the only person who has ever gone through it.  Tiny Furniture explores this, but the “in the moment” film doesn’t feel as reflexive and introspective as it could be.

tiny furniture lena dunham sister grace laurie simmons

You aren’t gaining any sympathy here

The movie largely presents the story from Aura’s perspective, and Aura isn’t the most likeable lead character.  She “followed her dreams” but with no perception of what that would mean in post-graduate world especially since she comes from what many would consider a fantasy world.  Her mother is a successful photographer, and they have an amazing apartment in TriBeCa.  This creates a sense of entitlement that many actual struggling graduates would die for.  It makes Dunham’s character even less sympathetic when she complains about a part-time job and how she deserves and expects more (while not really doing anything to better her position).  It isn’t unusual and many people go through it, but looking back on it, I personally don’t connect with her or her “struggle” since she’s got it pretty good.

Part of the film’s problem is probably Dunham herself.  I saw the first season of Girls (Dunham’s HBO show which followed this), and she was the least likeable part of the show.  Yes, Aura is struggling and challenged, but she mopes and complains instead of even attempting to rise.  The meltdown she has with her mother and sister is realistic, but it doesn’t make her anymore likeable.  Dunham’s real sister Grace Dunham plays her sister here and Girls’ co-star Jemima Kirke plays Dunham’s friend.  Photographer and artist Laurie Simmons is the best part of the movie as Aura’s mother who tries to balance shoving her kid into the world with being sympathetic to her plight.

tiny furniture sex in a pipe lena dunham

A romantic first “date”

The movie is clean crisp and shows the rather unkempt Aura in a polished world.  It is a solid addition to the story which has Aura as someone who doesn’t fit in to her own world and does help push the narrative.  If Aura had come from a world of less means, she maybe would have been more motivated…while she’s complaining about changing the cat litter in her nice flat, many students are panicking about the college loan bills.

Tiny Furniture taps into a fear that graduates have and rightfully so in many cases.  Aura complains about being in the “worst time to graduate” (post-housing market collapse), but honestly, every generation has a worst time to look for jobs.  I hoped to get out of my first job and move up about the time 9-11 happened…then the housing market.  Graduates in 2020 face entering a changing market with COVID-19 ravaging employment…it is almost always a bad time to graduate.  With the film being like a mini-Girls, fans of that show would enjoy it, but people who don’t like Dunham (or who struggle with millennials in general) probably should avoid Tiny Furniture like the plague.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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