PASS THE POPCORN: ‘Tiny Furniture’ leaves a big impression

by Staff

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Courtesy of IFC Films

By Morgan Denno, Staff Writer

Aura (Lena Dunham) is suffering from self-professed postgraduate delirium, a phase all college students inevitably experience after graduation. It serves as a warning to postgrads that after those four, sometimes five years of higher education, things can get scary.

After breaking up with her boyfriend of two years, Aura leaves Ohio and moves back to New York City into a studio apartment with her artist mother (Laurie Simmons) and her bossy teenage sister (Grace Dunham). Though most of her motivation goes toward taking naps, she also rekindles old friendships and re-immerses herself into a family that has gotten along quite well without her. Her struggles result in convincing tantrums of self-absorption and entitlement, leaving the audience members feeling as if they are genuinely watching a young girl unravel. It seems she picked the worst possible time to graduate and has no clue what she wants to do with her life or what kind of career she will choose. When Aura gets a job as a day hostess at a nearby restaurant, boredom, miniscule paychecks and embarrassing attempts at modern dating become a cruel reality. Aura’s experience reflects a large portion of America’s student population in that the friends made in college might not be lifelong friendships, and college relationships might not result in a lifelong marriage.

Quite possibly the most interesting fact about “Tiny Furniture” is that it was actually created by a postgraduate, who is also the lead. Lena Dunham is a 24-year-old Oberlin College graduate who seems to have avoided the postgraduate slump by casting herself as the lead actress, writer and director of this heavily praised indie film. She was even able to cast her own mother and sister as her “Tiny Furniture” family.

Dunham manages to make the unlikeable likeable. She is a breath of fresh air with her uneven skin tone, cellulite and sarcastic humor allowing Aura to be a real person, rather than another pretty actress pretending to be like everyone else. That is what makes “Tiny Furniture” so great; it doesn’t try to be like anything else. Everything feels real, honest and might be so well delivered because Dunham has already experienced everything Aura is going through. Anyone who has experienced the postgraduate haze will appreciate Dunham putting herself to work and accomplishing something new, but this film can also be appreciated for so much more.

Movie: Tiny Furniture

Directed by: Lena Dunham

Release Date: Now Playing

Grade: A

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