I've been waiting forever for people to start making stories about the recession.
Well, more like three years, I guess. Maybe two. Don't bust my chops here. Two years is still forever to a mayfly.
Thing is, the best people to write about it are the young people growing up with it, and young people are too dumb to do it right. Well, thanks to a curious phenomenon known as "time," those young people are starting to grow up. And they're giving us recession-era movies like 2010's Tiny Furniture.
Fresh out of college, Lena Dunham moves back in with her mom and younger sister in New York. But with no idea where to go in terms of a job, an apartment, or a new relationship, her post-graduate life isn't shaping up as she might have imagined.
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Let's get something straight: Tiny Furniture is not one of those movies with what you'd call a "plot." You might have guessed that from my somewhat strained attempt to make it sound interesting, but just in case I accidentally made it sound like something to pick up based on strength of story alone, then I'm sorry. You have been righteously fooled.
It's about neurotic young people in New York, you see. More stuff happens in an empty box than in a movie about neurotic young people in New York. I mean, kittens sometimes appear in empty boxes. In Tiny Furniture, Dunham mostly just makes a series of minor mistakes, after which she enjoys yelling at family for a bit before strolling off to have a strange conversation with another young New Yorker.
Yet it's still kind of remarkable. Dunham didn't just star in this, she wrote and directed it, too. When she was just 24. I'm getting into dangerous territory here. Playing up an artist's youth is often a recipe for condescension. Wow, she put on her own pants! And she's just 24! Actually, that's not the best comparison, as Dunham spends a curious amount of time unflatteringly pantsless in Tiny Furniture, but you get what I mean.
Because this movie's really well-written. It has well-observed dialogue that sounds transcribed from Dunham's actual life among artsy New York twentysomethings. It's funny, albeit in a way that rarely makes you laugh, and heavy with unspoken wants. Wow, if I were reading this, I would be flipping over to the horoscopes right now.
But I hope my hypothetical horoscope would predict I'd just missed out. Because this is good stuff. While Dunham's portrait of modern-day New York bohemians can feel like an alien world, the post-graduate malaise she captures is pretty universal. Tiny Furniture is a promising start to a young career.