Tiny Furniture

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Tiny Furniture
Tiny furniture poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lena Dunham
Produced by
  • Kylie Martin
  • Alicia Van Covering
  • Alice Wang
Written by Lena Dunham
Music by Teddy Blanks
Cinematography Jody Lee Lipes
Edited by Lance Edmands
Tiny Ponies
Distributed by IFC Films
Release dates
  • March 15, 2010 (2010-03-15) (SXSW)
  • November 12, 2010 (2010-11-12) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $65,000[1]
Box office $416,498[2]

Tiny Furniture is a 2010 American independent comedy-drama film written, directed by, and starring Lena Dunham.

The film premiered at South by Southwest, where it won the award for 'Best Narrative Feature,'[3] screened at such festivals as Maryland Film Festival, and was released theatrically in the United States on November 12, 2010. Dunham’s own mother, the artist Laurie Simmons, plays Aura’s mother, while her real sister, Grace, plays Aura’s on-screen sibling. The actors Jemima Kirke and Alex Karpovsky would also appear in Dunham's television series Girls.


Having been dumped by her boyfriend after graduation, Aura (Lena Dunham) moves back home to her mother's loft in TriBeCa for the summer. Aura's plan is to save money until her friend Frankie finishes her degree and moves from Ohio to the city where they plan on being roommates. Shortly after arriving she goes to a party where she meets Jed, a mildly successful filmmaker who puts his work on YouTube and runs into her childhood friend Charlotte (Jemima Kirke). Charlotte, a recovering drug addict, helps Aura to land a minimum wage job as a hostess at a restaurant. The news that she has landed a job is quickly overshadowed by the fact that her younger sister, Nadine, has won a prestigious poetry prize for high school students. Aura begins to feel anxious in comparison to her put-together younger sister and resents the close bond between Nadine and their mother.

Depressed Aura begins to spend time with Jed, who is couchsurfing as his agent tries to land him a TV development deal, and flirts with Keith (David Call) a junior chef at the restaurant. When her mother and sister leave for a week in order to tour colleges Aura invites Jed to stay with her. Jed proves a lazy guest who asks Aura to let him extend his visit even after her mother comes home. After annoying her mother with his entitled attitude, Aura is forced to kick him out. Meanwhile her flirtation with Keith hits a snag when she discovers he has a girlfriend and only seems interested in her ability to obtain prescription pills through Charlotte. After Keith stands her up when they make plans to get high together Aura quits her restaurant job and tells a bewildered Frankie that she no longer can move in with her as her mother needs her too much.

Unsure of what to do with her filmmaking degree Aura lucks out when Charlotte asks a curator friend to put one of Aura's pieces in his gallery. At the exhibit Charlotte is annoyed when Frankie appears and encourages Aura to leave Frankie in order to spend time with Keith, who also showed up. Ditching Frankie, Aura goes with Keith and the two get high in the street. Encouraged by Charlotte's early advice to be spontaneous Aura makes a move on Keith who, despite still being in a relationship, responds with passion. As Keith still lives with his girlfriend and Aura cannot bring him to her mother's apartment the two crawl into a pipe where they have unprotected sex.

Returning home Aura fights with her mother but eventually apologizes, telling her about her evening with Keith and asking her mother about what she was like when she was Aura's age.




The film was shot on the Canon EOS 7D. Filming took place in TriBeCa and Lower Manhattan. The film was shot in November 2009.[4] Dunham says she wrote a "tight script" to which the actors were faithful.[5]


The soundtrack included music by Teddy Blanks of The Gaskets, Domino (Domino Kirke, and Jordan Galland), Rebecca Schiffman and Sonia's Party! & The Everyone's Invited Band.[6] The soundtrack is downloadable for free on the movie website.[7]

Home media[edit]

Tiny Furniture was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in 2012 as part of the Criterion Collection.[8]


Critical response[edit]

Tiny Furniture received positive reviews and holds a 79% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 6.9/10, based on 95 reviews.[9] On review aggregator website Metacritic, the film received a score of 72 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10]

Joe Leydon of Variety gave the film a positive review writing : "Winner of the narrative feature prize at the SXSW Film Festival, “Tiny Furniture” should strike a responsive chord in anyone who remembers — or is experiencing — that post-college period in life when you’re impatiently eager to invent yourself, yet hesitant to get started. Written and directed by newcomer Lena Dunham, who also plays the lead role, this technically polished indie often feels like a semi-autographical effort by a filmmaker trying to work out issues in her art that she’s still confronting in life. But that, too, may help the pic connect with auds during limited theatrical exposure."[11]


Lena Dunham won for Best First Screenplay at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards.[12]


  1. ^ Renee, V (March 16, 2014). "Filmmaking Tips from SXSW: Some of Indie Film's Biggest Movers & Shakers Sound Off". No Film School. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Tiny Furniture". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  3. ^ Renninger, Bryce J. (March 17, 2010). "SXSWdaily: "Tiny Furniture," "Marwencol," and More Winners on the Web". IndieWIRE. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  4. ^ Carr, David (March 19, 2010). "Young Filmmaker's Search for Her Worth Is Rewarded". The New York Times. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  5. ^ Piotrowski, Angeline (July 29, 2010). "Traverse City Film Festival: Tiny Furniture Sweet Talks Traverse City". MyNorth. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "Official website soundtrack and credits" (Zip). Tinyfurniture.com. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  7. ^ "A Film By Lena Dunham". Tiny Furniture. 1985-04-26. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  8. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (April 5, 2011). "Lena Dunham's 'Tiny Furniture' Headed To The Criterion Collection In 2012". IndieWIRE: The Playlist. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Tiny Furniture (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Tiny Furniture". Metacritic. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  11. ^ Leydon, Joe (March 23, 2010). "Review: 'Tiny Furniture'". Variety. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  12. ^ "26th Independent Spirit Awards Winners - 'Black Swan' Gets Four!". Firstshowing.net. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 

External links[edit]