Tiny Furniture - DVD Review

'the importance of a film like this to have the ability to laugh at its own subject should not be underestimated'

In a rare case of a film's tagline perfectly encapsulating what it is all about, Tiny Furniture's booms from the posters thus, 'Aura would like you to know that she's having a very, very hard time'. Perfect. We're well within the realms of the self-centred hipster here and, thankfully, the film knows it.

The Aura of the tagline proves to be played by Tiny Furniture's writer and director, Lena Dunham and, in her mind at least, she is indeed having a very, very hard time. Home from college, recently separated from her boyfriend, clashing with a mother (Laurie Simmons) and sister (Grace Dunham) she struggles to fully relate to, Aura is suffering from pretty much every first world problem you'd care to mention, save from anything related to technology. The film asks you to identify with her, but not without having the wherewithal to show you just how self-centred she can be on occasion. Watch for a literal tantrum; kicking legs, head thrown into the covers and all.

Tiny Furniture then has a battle on to make sure you at least like Aura a little bit, a feat accomplished by employing a mixture of even more unlikeable characters and colliding Aura's individual foibles with a mixture of her rebellious intellect and odd practicality. A scene in which she has sex inside of a junk yard steel pipe sums her up, as she pauses her risqué act of love-making to ask, 'do you have aids?'.

There are general annoyances which the film can't quite overcome - its version of New York seems to be entirely populated by hipsters, for example, Jed (Alex Karpovsky), the worst offender - but even with these it follows an interesting character closely enough and weaves in enough sly humour to raise a much-needed smile every so often. It's not quite the heralding of a brash new talent, nor is it remarkable in anything that it does, but it is pleasant enough and the importance of a film like this to have the ability to laugh at its own subject should not be underestimated.

Tiny Furniture is out in the UK on DVD on Monday 28th May 2012.

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