No movie genre does quirky families and general life ennui better than small indie films created on a shoestring budget by little-known artists, so “Tiny Furniture” is definitely on the right track.
Written, directed and starring comic writer Lena Dunham, “Tiny Furniture” tells the story of Aura, a recent college grad with little ambition and no direction in life, who moves back home to Manhattan to live with her mother and teenage sister. And that is apparently the entire plot of the movie. Her family (played by Dunham’s real-life mother and sister) is weird—naturally—so they get in each other’s faces and bicker over ridiculous things, like Aura’s post-collegiate malaise making her sound like “the epilogue to ‘Felicity’.” And since Aura is single, she gets introduced to a possible new boyfriend (who is also—naturally—weird), who she invites to move in with her and her family. How can one New York apartment contain all this quirkiness?
While I have nothing against small movies that focus more on interesting characters than intricate plots, I hope there’s something more to “Tiny Furniture” than a showcase for the bizarre family that Dunham obviously adores. Everybody thinks their family is crazy and hilarious, but if we all made movies about them, we’d soon learn that they’re only crazy and funny after spending a lifetime with them. There are few things more potentially annoying to an audience than being presented with someone’s scripted home movie and told to find the subjects charming.
Having already played at several film festivals, “Tiny Furniture” is playing a limited run at select theaters in the U.S.
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