Lena Dunham – Creative Nonfiction (2009)

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David Lowery wrote:
What is it about the sexualization of English professors that irks me so? I think of the cliche of the sturdy, masculine educator bewitching his female pupils with silver-tongued erudition on the works of Percy and D.H Lawrence and I wonder: what of their poor colleagues, the mathematics professors? Can’t fractal equations be as erotically stimulating as the breakdown of Pyrrhic verse? The answer, as any English major knows, is not likely-there’s little that can so easily compound the psychological dynamics between teacher and student like the aphrodisiacal qualities of language-but it was nonetheless a gust of fresh air to see Lena Dunham so precisely pierce this stereotype in her debut feature, Creative Nonfiction. Dunham stars in the film as Ella, a freshman student at an unnamed Midwestern college, who is working on a screenplay for a creative writing class that, in its early stages, could be synopsized by at least three sentences of this very paragraph. Continue reading

Lena Dunham – Tiny Furniture (2010)

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Lena Dunham got her start making YouTube videos, but she emerged as a major talent thanks to the breakthrough success of this exceptionally sharp comedy, which garnered the twenty-four-year-old writer-director-actor comparisons to the likes of Woody Allen. Dunham plays Aura, a recent college graduate who returns to New York and moves back in with her mother and sister (played by the filmmaker’s real-life mother and sister). Though Aura is gripped by stasis and confusion about her future, Dunham locates endless sources of refreshing humor in her plight. As painfully confessional as it is amusing, Tiny Furniture is an authentic, incisive portrait of a young woman at a crossroads. Continue reading