This paper will seek to establish how this movie is fundamentally anti-romantic in its approach to love and life in general. Unlike other coming-of-age movies that offer up answers or possible ways out to this ‘quarter-life crisis’, Tiny Furniture merely brings out the humor in the situation; a situation that is necessarily devoid of meaning or significance and must, at best, be survived.
The film opens with Aura (Lena Dunham) returning home from college. She enters her home with ‘Honey, I’m home!’ This going ignored, she calls out again ‘Family?’ This ironic opening sets the tone for the rest of the film which continuously makes fun of itself and its protagonists, most notably of Aura/Dunham herself. The hopelessness of Aura’s situation is ironically presented even in the film’s promotional poster which declares “Aura would like you to know that she’s having a very, very hard time.” Dunham, then, very consciously locates the film in the context of the comedic genre. The master of self-deprecatory ironic humor Woody Allen is also invoked in the film when Jed is seen, more than once, reading a copy of Without Feathers in bed. Although the movie is not replete with comic situations or dialogue, the ironic touch and the invocations of other comic legends places it quite firmly in the comic tradition.
As far as generic contexts go, Tiny Furniture also belongs to that sub-genre of independent film called ‘mumblecore’ that has emerged recently. Characterized by its naturalist approach, often-improvised dialogue and low budget and production values, this new trend in independent films, has been grabbing critics’ attention over the last couple of years (‘Mumblecore’). Amy Taubin in her review of the genre declares that it is almost entirely homogenous:
The directors are all male middle-class