Written and directed by Lena Dunham
Starring Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham
Irksome and affected yet, paradoxically, likeable and sincere, “Tiny Furniture” is a low-budget feature from young director and writer Lena Dunham. A New York native, Dunham casts herself as Aura, a college grad who moves into her mother’s spotless white Tribeca apartment to figure out her next step in life. In a depressed economic landscape, the world hardly feels like her oyster.
As she shuffles around the apartment in her default mode — pants-free and forlorn — Aura seeks solace from her successful artist mother and her over-achieving teenage sister. Though they have unconditional love to offer, their empathy is limited. The sister is too young to know what disappointment feels like and the mother is too old to indulge the naive pessimism of a 20-something.
Aura’s malaise is unspecific to an irritating degree. She’s many adjectives — lost, unsure, disaffected, angry — but her prepositional relationship with the universe is vague. Unsure about what? Angry at what? Nothing and everything, it seems. The more Aura mopes, the more the movie drifts. What pulls you in, at last, is her appealing, too-nice candor, which tends to attract wrong people. The high school friends with whom she reconnects are narcissistic and the men she pines after are garden-variety jerks. Whither will these questionable relationships lead her? That is the question that commands your sympathies.
This is what, Dunham seems to be saying, displacement looks and feels like. Though it wallows inordinately in uncertainty and twee affectations, “Tiny Furniture” does succeed in capturing a distinct sense of limbo.