Tiny Furniture

Testing testing…
Hey guys. Remember when I started a blog and then disappeared for a month because I thought this would be the perfect time to start a new exciting blog venture in addition to grad school, work, and a writing fellowship? Yeah, me too.

So, in light of the fact that I have a paper due Friday, my second submission for my fellowship due Sunday, and about 30 pages of a screenplay due Monday, I bring to you…

(BTW, I’m a total tea cheater right now because I need some serious caffeine to help me confront this mammoth writing monster.)

Tiny Furniture (2010)
Starring Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham
Directed by Lea Dunham
How I saw it: Streamed via Netflix
Second time watching the film, and I heart Lena Dunham

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Opening shot of Lena Dunham (Aura) looking disheveled in the backseat of a cab caressing a small white gerbil/hamster/rodent. Oh yeah, Jemima Kirke and Alex Karpovsky are also in this. Shout out to all the GIRLS fans.

Dear god, I reached for a cheeto and somehow turned off Netflix. You know, this evening just needs to chill out.

Lena arrives home (still having not spoken a word) looking forlorn and angsty.

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[first lines]
Dunhum (Aura): Honey, I’m home… Family?
Asisstant: Downstairs…
Mom/Siri: Can you turn your right toe slightly towards me?
Sister/Nadine: It hurts.
Mom/Siri: Perfect.
[click]

Mom, assistant, and sister are downstairs in the mother’s studio where the sister is posed next to tiny furniture.

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Lena’s sister has wedding cake shoes and intensely awesome eyebrows.

Ok, attempting to obtain a cheeto a second time…Success!!

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Sisterly banter.

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Lena looks for her mom’s old journals clad in t-shirt and no pants, and we aren’t offended by the presence of her butt because the female form in all it’s variations is wonderful. She reads a few pages then has a quarter life crisis the following morning.

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Just dropped my computer on the floor and instinctively reached for it with cheeto fingers. My life is a tragedy. Shakespeare could learn a few things from me.

Aura talks to her friend Frankie from college on the phone

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And then meets “Ray” at a party who is slightly internet famous for his YouTube videos – The Nietzschean Cowboy.

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So, now that we’re four seasons into GIRLS, this movie is very proto-GIRLS. Several of the same actors (which I have nothing against because I long ago pledged allegiance to Joss Whedon and he does that all of the time. With all of the actors. Because he’s Joss Whedon and he can do what he wants.)

Aura’s little sister usurps the  pedestal usually reserved for older siblings. She is the more conventionally attractive, the more focused, and successful. She wins this nationwide high school poetry award and then says this: “Poetry’s a very stupid thing to be good at. I mean, poems are basically like dreams — something that everybody likes to tell other people… but nobody actually cares about when it’s not their own. Which is why poetry’s a failure of an intellectual community.”

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Date with “Ray”, “Ray” agrees to stay at her place while mom and sister are gone. Awkaward social interactions occur. Aura’s hamster dies. She puts it in the freezer.

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Aura goes in for first day of work as a day hostess at a restaurant and flirts with Hipster Chef.

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So, here’s the deal with Lena Dunham. She’s a polarizing figure, and that’s ok. I like her because even if her characters/story lines aren’t completely realistic, her sentiment and the feelings woven throughout are authentic. And there will be moments where you resonate with one of the characters, that moment is accessible to you. Similarly there are times where you think, “Who the hell are these kids and how do I get them off my lawn?!” So, it’s kinda like life.

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I also feel like one of the themes throughout her work is “Only connect” (c/o E.M. Forster). Maybe not well, maybe sometimes badly, but sometimes well and sincerely… She’s always working for and taking the connections that come to her characters. So, yes, sometimes we see them do silly and idiotic things, endure drama and pain to see if that connection is worth salvaging. And that’s an experience everyone endured. Staying in that relationship a little too long, pushing a little too hard, giving up too easily, etc.

Ok… movie.

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Aura is flirting with the Hipster Chef again. Ugh. Flirty small talk. Ok, even thought he mentions “tentacle rape” is worth Googling, maybe don’t. And definitely not at work. If you’re unfamiliar with Hentai (the adult version of Anime) think rope bondage with living ropes that get a little probey. Shudders….awkward flirting. sips Diet Coke.

OMG. the cat in this movie as the most pronounced browline of any cat I’ve ever seen. It’s seriously intense.

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Family meltdown. Chef asks out Aura.

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She goes to Charlotte’s house to find something to wear where she teaches us important life lessons… like… “show off your puffy nipples” and “just, grab his cock”… If that offends you in an interpersonal way, your can mentally redress the advice to apply to life. I.E. “Grab life by the balls.” Or nipples. Why shouldn’t life be female?

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Mom kicks out Alex, Aura quits her job with a flourish. I’ve never quit a job. I had one really self-satisfying two weeks notice. But then there was that awkward two weeks of “I don’t want to be here. You don’t want me to be here… I’m just going to go to Wendy’s and sit in my car everyday at lunch until this is over.” Little sis throws a party, GASP. Aura throws away her frozen hamster because, letting go.

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Etc. Etc. Frankie friend-from-school arrives and doesn’t mesh with friend from pre-college life.

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Aura gets high and has sex with the Hipster Chef in a construction pipe. Which, can’t be pleasant… I mean: drafty, noisy, and not conducive to proper communication.

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In the last few minutes of the film and nice stride comes into place between Aura and her mom. “You know, if the Fulbright thing doesn’t work out, you could be a massage therapist. You have a very intuitive touch. You’re like my sister.”

I love LOVE the last ten minutes. The conversation between them is so perfect. I love that the mom is in the childlike fetal position, that Aura is comforting her, but how the conversation is still so mothering.

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And here’s where I am with this movie. At this point, it is really difficult to separate this from all the episodes of GIRLS I’ve seen, especially with the actor overlap, and some similar plot moments that I’ve seen used and reenacted better in her series. That last scene makes the whole movie for me. I do like seeing Lena act opposite her sister, that’s neat. There’s a lot about this movie that bumbling, but it’s supposed to be that way.

If you are anti Netflix, you can also find the film it it’s entirety on YouTube.

Thanks for reading!

– SH

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