I live in New York. I dress in the dark. I drink Pabst Blue Ribbon. I live a meaningless life. I went to film school. I am cynical and overly ironic. Given the credentials, I am, by definition, a hipster (though I’ll never admit it). So in turn, I should enjoy this film simply by sheer logic, right?
Tiny Furniture follows Aura as she moves back home after graduating college. Having just ended a serious relationship and lacking direction, Aura tries to find her place in life while getting involved with two self centered men. And that is pretty much all that can be said in the way of plot.
When I first reviewed the trailer for Tiny Furniture for Trailer Round-up #2 (because at Flixist, I am tasked with ironically judging previews as well), I wrote this off as hipster dreck, something that intellectuals and artists would praise as moving and creative. But as a critic, I have to watch a movie without bias. So I erased what I saw in the trailer and what I expected, and I watched the film with new eyes. Guess what, it’s still dreck.
There is absolutely no redeeming quality to the story or any of the characters. Everything about this movie is lethargic, moving at a painfully slow pace that gets nowhere and amounts to nothing more than incessant whining. There isn’t a speck of humanity to any of this; just a lot of know it alls acting really stupid. It pains me to think that this is what people thinks of New Yorkers, and it pains me even more that New Yorkers make movies like this depicting us as nothing more that hopeless cathartic morons who read Nietzsche.
As far as acting and dialogue, it’s still rather painful. Granted, it is witty and highbrow, but it’s all so very insincere and unlikely. Add that to the fact that these lines are delivered through apathetic proxies, and you get these drowsy interactions that produce this haze of confusion and frustration. It’s not that any of the material or literary references went over my head, there was no other point to them other than trying to be smart and artsy. If I had to give accolades to anybody in this film, it would have to be Jemima Kirke (Charlotte) for her devious character and Alex Karpovsky (Jed) for playing the hell out of a self centered prick (at least, I hope it was acting).
The only redeeming quality to this film was the cinematography. Captured on a Canon 7D, the look of this film is gorgeous as the wonderful backdrop that is New York is captured so vibrantly. Colors pop and framing was near masterful, proving you don’t need a high-end camera to make a film look pretty. It was the one thing that was done right, and it was done damn well.
This film is absolute dribble. Other than being a testament to the Canon 7D, Tiny Furniture has no redeeming qualities to it whatsoever. I’m all for indie existential pieces, but the plot and characters are annoying to no end. It’s the kind of film that intellectuals will swoon over at rooftop parties, swilling cheap wine and sandwiched between conversations about Nietzsche and Woody Allen. It’s amazingly frustrating that this won the Jury Prize at SXSW for “Best Narrative Feature”, and frankly I feel sorry for anybody who actually relates to this film.