I remember the first time I saw the trailer for Tiny Furniture like it was yesterday. Someone had posted it on Twitter or Tumblr and I watched it three times, followed by an intense Google search to find out where and when I could see it in the theater. I came up empty and sad. A few months went by and it popped up on Netflix streaming. Well, you can bet I dropped everything and sat down to watch it. You know when you’re so excited about a film that it can’t possibly live up to your expectations? Well this film not only lived up to but surpassed my expectations! I thought to myself, “Look at that spectacular, brave, talented woman! She wrote and directed it, too?! That’s it, I quit and am giving her all my money.”
In the unlikely event that at this point you still don’t know who I’m talking about, it’s Lena Dunham. You’ve heard of her, you know her, you love her. (If you don’t love her, we probably can’t be friends, sorry.) The girl is major and somehow manages to hold on to who she is. I hesitate to bring up “realness” because that seems to be the catch-all phrase being thrown around about her generation of filmmakers, as though they’ve cornered the market on reality. But it’s the truth because in a way, they have. Lena has mastered the art of realism. Her character in Tiny Furniture is a mess; she makes mistakes, she’s finding her way and, just like in real life, sometimes it’s not pretty. She is the new girl next door. Not in a Julia Roberts way but in a “she could totally, actually live next door and have spinach in her teeth” kind of way.
Her hard work has been rewarded with a new show on HBO co-executive produced by Judd Apatow, Girls. Lest you think the system will get the better of her, keep in mind that she not only is writing it and producing it but she’s also directing. At 25, I wasn’t directing myself to much more than my couch, so I am doubly amazed by her.
For the first time in a long time women in their 20s are seeing themselves reflected on screen, physically and emotionally. In a culture that has so devalued reading and personal connection, where else are young women to look for inspiration? For aspiration? Facebook? I think not, and thanks to women like Lena Dunham, they don’t have to.
Featured image via Filmmakermagazine.com