Copyright ©2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From an architect who's 103, to a filmmaker who's just 24. Shortly after Lena Dunham graduated from film school, without a job, she moved back in with her family. Then she wrote and directed a film about a woman who graduates from film school without a job and moves back in with her family. And she cast herself in the leading role. The result is a comedy called "Tiny Furniture."

Bob Mondello says it does feel true to life.

(Soundbite of film, "Tiny Furniture")

Ms. LENA DUNHAM (Filmmaker, Actress): (As Aura) Honey, I'm home.

BOB MONDELLO: Aura's triumphant return from college is not quite what she expected.

(Soundbite of film, "Tiny Furniture")

Ms. DUNHAM: Family?

Ms. LAURIE SIMMONS (Actress): (As Siri) Downstairs.

MONDELLO: Mom is photographing dollhouse furniture in her art studio and younger sis is modeling shoes, and�neither of them more than glances up�from what she's doing.

(Soundbite of film, "Tiny Furniture")

Ms. SIMMONS: Come say hi, sweetie. Come give me a kiss.

Ms. DUNHAM: Hi.

Ms. SIMMONS: We will be done really soon. How about if we order dinner and I let you choose what you want?

Ms. GRACE DUNHAM (Actress): (As Nadine) How long are you going to be staying in our house?

Ms. L. DUNHAM: Last I checked it's my house too. I have a whole bedroom.

Ms. G. DUNHAM: You used to have a whole bedroom. It's my special space now.

Ms. L. DUNHAM: I think you're being mean.

Ms. G. DUNHAM: I think you're being oversensitive.

Ms. L. DUNHAM: I just got off a plane from Ohio. I'm in a post-graduate delirium.

MONDELLO: This is, of course, a not-uncommon state for young graduates: no job prospects, no relationship, no place to call one's own. Still, it'd be nice to have a little support from somewhere, so Aura flirts with a couple of men who treat her like a doormat and reconnects with an old friend mostly for reassurance that it's okay to feel as aimless as she's feeling. The friend, who is sort of a flake, is obliging.

(Soundbite of film, "Tiny Furniture")

Ms. JEMIMA KIRKE (Actress): (As Charlotte) No one's even financially independent until they're at least 25 or even 30. What do you think you'll do?

Ms. L. DUNHAM: I have no idea what I'm qualified for.

Ms. KIRKE: I work at this place around the corner called Clandestino. It's like sort of a dinner bistro kind of thing.

Ms. L. DUNHAM: You're a waitress?

Ms. KIRKE: No, I was a hostess. It's the easiest job ever. You just have to look nice and greet people and then old guys send you drinks.

Ms. L. DUNHAM: I have no experience.

Ms. KIRKE: It's absolutely fine. On my resume, under skills I put: has a landline.

MONDELLO: As you can hear, filmmaker Lena Dunham has an ear for the pretensions of urban sophisticates. And she's pretty well captured how lost a person like Aura would feel when trying to live that sort of consciously self-conscious life, without being very sure of herself.

What's intriguing is that she's done it so close to home that she's actually�in�her home - in her mother's home that is, with names changed but Dunham playing basically herself; her mom playing her mom; her sister playing her sister; and a close friend playing her closest friend. The end result is that�"Tiny Furniture"�plays like situation comedy, but with an overlay of what theater folks call performance art. You keep thinking it must be autobiographical, except that the unambitious, increasingly sorry-for-herself sad sack who is so vividly getting her self-esteem tromped on by everyone who comes near her would never be able to pull together a film.

I'm Bob Mondello.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.