If you haven’t heard of bright young thing Lena Dunham yet, rest assured that by the end of the year you’ll be quoting from one of her caustic comic offerings. Stateside, the film maker and actress is currently the name on everyone’s lips thanks to her witty, hip and hilariously funny new show Girls, which is a kind of anti Sex and the City about a group of mildly dysfunctional twenty-somethings trying to make their way in New York. The show doesn’t come to the UK until September (when it will be on Sky Atlantic), but we’ve had a sneak preview of the first three episodes and can tell you it is indeed must see TV: the crossroads where Woody Allen’s narcissism meets wry female-skewed social satire. These girls don’t have lives you’d aspire to live, more knuckle-in-the-mouth cringe-inducing ones you might have lived through.
But, Lena Dunham first started getting everyone excited with her feature film debut Tiny Furniture, which has just come out on DVD. It tells the dorky-meets-cool story of recent graduate Aura (Dunham), who returns to her artist mother’s Tribeca apartment after graduating film school only to find that rather a pathetic life awaits, including falling back in with her totally bonkers and off-the-rails childhood friend and trying to hook up with a series of nauseatingly self-obsessed men, one of who has achieved notoriety though his existential YouTube films. If we had watched this when we were in our early twenties, we would have been mesmerised by every frame. Years later, we still found it fascinating, and definitely recommend it, but it was with some relief that we were able to tear ourselves away from it at times (to take a phone call, say). It’s often laugh-out-loud funny, and hip by virtue of being wilfully the opposite. As a heroine Dunham is totally ace, but gloriously un-hollywood; all matted hair and muffin tops, but with a sense of observation and humour that dazzles. Since Tiny Furniture has some of the same fantastic cast as Girls and a very similar vibe, it’s a great teaser for what’s to come in the autumn.