Up-and-coming talent Lena Dunham writes, directs and stars in this story about a young college graduate trying to find a place for herself in the big, (not so) bad world.

Aura (Dunham) mopes around her mum’s house, chases a few guys, momentarily has a job as a hostess in a local restaurant – she is a typical twenty-something New Yorker who hails from a relatively privileged background.

She’s likeable, if frustrating at times – her reliance on others, particularly her mother, can be a tad irritating. Tiny Furniture is often about moving on, in several senses, and it is the handling of this subject that provides both the film’s believability and conflict. Aura must get over her recently ex-boyfriend, get herself work, and figure out how to leave her comfortable family existence. These are all transitions, and none of them are easy.

It is the realism of both the characters and the plot that strikes the most prominent chord, and ultimately makes the film watchable. Unfortunately, the filmmaking itself hampers this factor to some extent. Too often scenes begin with actors clearly positioning themselves very deliberately, turning to face the applicable way, and then delivering their lines in a rather pre-meditated fashion. The previous may just sound like a description of acting, but the efforts should never be this noticeable.

Tiny Furniture is a soft picture – quirky, harmless, at times airy. It leaves little emotional impact despite occasionally trying to be more poignant, but it’s neither offensive nor dull. Ultimately, those who find empathy with Aura will get the most out of it, others may find it whimsical and inconsequential.

Tom Grater

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