Tiny Furniture (2010) Lena Dunham
Blah blah blah Lena Dunham blah blah
In many ways, Tiny Furniture is very good, maybe even excellent. Dunham absolutely captures a real authenticity, and manages to craft a narrative out of basically nothing. There’s shit there that’s definitely very, very good.
And face it, she’s still fucking making something, which is more than I’m doing. I don’t resent her for that.
But after the film ended, I still felt that ultimately, I’m not sure I’m glad that this exists, in the way that you sometimes are when you don’t like something but still respect it.
Dunham, the filmmaker, acknowledges the immaturity, privilege, and sense of entitlement of her character, Aura. Dunham plays with this, it’s humorous, it’s pathetic, it’s annoying, it’s realistic. After a series of increasingly bad decisions by Aura, the viewer is left with the idea that maybe Aura is finally becoming a little more honest with herself. In the decades of “fifty is the new 40” etc., this is a coming-of-age story, for twenty-something babies. As much as I’d like to pretend that these completely un-self-reliant, self-aware individuals who are just next to my age range don’t exist, they do. Fucking millenials.
But I thought that the big wake-up call at the end (the bad decision to throw away her dignity and have unprotected sex), which I read as a sort of universalizing female experience, was exactly not that. This is where I think the film fails.
By making this statement, Dunham undermines her previous criticisms of her character’s privilege. The worst outcome is that she gets HIV. This is truly awful, it really is the worst thing that could happen. However, the reality is, if that were to happen, she would have the means to pay for treatment, she would have support. Or if she gets pregnant, she will abort (since women of means and privilege will always have access to abortions), or she will keep it (having the means and support to raise a child). It’s not that her life would not be made more difficult, it certainly would. It’s that these are all options that women without privelege do not have, or have difficulty gaining access to. This statement, which has solidarity as its purpose, ends up being alienating in reality.
I don’t have a problem with Dunham; she is creating, she is making art of her experience, she is talented. I have a problem with Tiny Furniture as something that may be seen as capturing a universal essence of female experience in 2010.
#79 - 4/16/2012