In 2010 an indie film was released that got some press, but almost no one I know saw, Lena Dunham‘s Tiny Furniture.
The movie follows Aura, played by Dunham, who has just graduated from college and is essentially lost. She moves back in with her mother, an artist who takes photos of, yes, tiny furniture, and her younger sister…and founders. Aura has returned home and has become completely infantilized, though she is still the same extremely sexual and sarcastic adult. She becomes involved with two guys, neither of whom is truly interested in her and in general, feels extremely overwhelmed. The poster for the movie pretty much says it all:
Dunham gained some publicity for this film for a number of reasons.
#1 It’s pretty great. Aura manages to be funny and awful, pitiable and unlikeable, all at the same time. You want her to figure it out but love watching her mess up.
#2 She directed her own mother and younger sister in the movie. They played…Aura’s mother and younger sister. She even used her mother’s actual apartment as their apartment in the movie. Her mother is also a real artist.
#3 The movie contains one of the most awkward and uncomfortable consensual sex scenes I’ve ever witnessed on film. It’s truly terrible.
#4 She doesn’t look like what Hollywood thinks everyone should look like in Hollywood. Yet she is open with her body to the point of making us feel uncomfortable.
#5 It’s a pretty great movie. Needed saying again.
So it’s not much of a surprise that she has paired up with Judd Apatow to produce a new show on HBO, Girls. The show is being compared with Sex and the City, mainly because it is about a bunch of young women living in New York, and they are having sexual relationships. But as much as Carrie et al seemed not to have their sh*t together, Dunham’s Hannah and her friends, really seem like giant messes.
The NY Times had a big article on Girls this past weekend. It begins by pointing out that in a TV season that was supposed to be all about the ladies (Whitney, New Girl, 2 Broke Girls) , all those shows ended up seeming both too crass and inauthentic. In full disclosure: I watch New Girl, tried and gave up on 2 Broke Girls, and hated the ads for Whitney so much I avoided it like the plague. The opening line of the trailer below is far funnier than most of what I’ve seen in any of these “lady shows” this year.
Authenticity seems to be one of Dunham’s watchwords. Girls seems to be much more honest, funnier, and slightly more bleak than anything that network TV has tried to sell us. These friends aren’t living in fabulous apartments and assuaging their heartbreak by buying $400 shoes. As the title of the show indicate, these are girls finding their way into being women, they just aren’t there yet. While I am no longer right out of college, and pray that I have progressed beyond these scenarios, I cannot wait for the show to premiere on April 15.
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