I love Girls. The versions with both a big and little G get a thumbs up from me. The HBO show is a faithful depiction of how terrifying it is to be young and in a city, what with all the drinking, sex and emotions that can be bought/had/caught. Thankfully I skipped that and at the age of 25 I am now cocooned safely in middle-age, with my slippers and my favourite mug, it just looks like so much effort to be considered ‘cool’. Girls is a statement of intent from it’s writer-director-producer-dictator Lena Dunham; it provided hope that if things do go wrong, as they inevitably will, your ambition will remain untarnished and unbroken by this cruel world.
So, settling in to watch her pre-Girls feature film, Tiny Furniture, I was readying myself for a treat but it turns out that you can have too much of a good thing. Much like the new series of Arrested Development, spending longer than you need to in the presence of a narcissistic arsehole can be emotionally tiring. Half an hour bites of self-obsession can be easily cleansed from the system with a shower of puppies and a shift in a soup kitchen;there aren’t enough Meals on Wheels that I can deliver to remove 100 minutes of Tiny Furniture from my system.
Aura (Lena Dunham) has returned home (if such a sterile, clinical place can be considered as such) after graduating from university and is wondering what to do with her life and with whom to do it with. The problem is that Aura and the other characters are not endearing, in fact they makes me a bit sad for the human race. Aura is consumed with tending the path of her life at the exclusion of anything else yet she still yearns to be seen as selfless and a ‘good person’. It bears some similarity to Hannah in Girls and both would be exhausting to know; simultaneously using you, and telling you how little they are using you.
Whereas Girls was written with humour and warmth, Tiny Furniture seemed borne out of a superficial need to show someone that a film can be made with no emotional depth. Or in some post-modern madness maybe that was the point? Maybe it is a riff on how in modernity we all care about the shallows and real depth has to be sought away from cinema (consider the Nietzschean Cowboy)?
Or maybe it was just a mediocre film that we can read more into than is justified?
Your thoughts as ever are most welcome.