Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tiny Furniture (2010)

So this review, is many weeks old as I think I saw this movie nearly a month ago. But so be it, I'm forced into catchup mode, because, simply put, I don't always have the time or energy to review stuff right away. And if I was actually earning any income (or for that matter, perks/comps of some sort), the motivation to get this done in a more timely fashion would be there.


So in 3-4 weeks post seeing this, I can say this was definitely one of the better movies I saw in the past 12 months. Although I doubt I'd consider among my top 5 or whatever (or as good as the 2010 IFP winner Easier With Practice). But it or the screenwriter (and actor/director) Lena Dunham did win a Independent Spirit Award (for best first feature) for it a few weeks ago, and for good reason.

It's a coming-of-age sort of movie, about a girl who comes home from college to live with her single mom and sister. Although those 2 were slightly less significant in the story as just what Aura (Dunham) goes through. She just ended a relationship with a long-term boyfriend, along with trying to figure out her life professionally, socially, romantically.

She meets 2 guys, 1 named Jed (Alex Karpovsky) at a party whose a bit awkward, but ultimately has his charm. The 2 of them end up having pretty much purely a platonic relationship, despite Aura's advances. Maybe some of that was a rebound thing?

The 2nd guy, named Keith (David Call), is this guy she meets at this restaurant place she ends up working at, whose not single nor really interested in her like she is in him.

Now I remember a bit of what I thought about driving home. Aura really comes off like a lot of guys in this movie. A bit desperate for something or someone. Maybe she does poorly in solitude. But it is ultimately given that her mother actually needs her, maybe more than she needs her mother.

At one point, Aura plans to move out of her mom's flat in NYC, and in with her friend from college who remained at their school in Ohio for awhile. It's odd how at the beginning of the movie, Aura talks to her friend on the phone, more or less like they were rather close. Eventually said friend comes to town and Aura sort of blows her off. I was a bit disappointed in that. It was in a circumstance where she was to meet Keith who she can't resist.

I actually think her friend from college's role was a bit downplayed. Maybe the point of her character needing to figure out her next move in her life added to that, but it's a bit sad when you are connected to a friend and then you don't see them for a few weeks, and suddenly their priorities and interest in you seem to have changed.

It is pretty noteworthy how not only is Dunham (and her family?) from Minnesota, but also how her mother and sister are played by her real family members. So, in a way it was almost a documentary in that sense. And if I recall from this interview Dunham gave on NPR, a lot of the story is based on her real life.

I would say this is hardly my favorite movie of this type (see 2010's Fishtank for one, or maybe more so Funny Haha which the more movies I see in this ilk, the more that movie stands out as being one-of- if not the best), but it definitely was good and impressive for a 1st feature.

Lena Dunham I guess is now working with Judd Apatow (it's mentioned in that NPR interview) to develop some kind of black comedy for HBO. I can't deny, I'm rather curious about that, as I think she showed enough with this movie not only as an actor and director, but screenwriter especially, to add interest in her future.

That's something to keep in mind in the coming months/years.