(out of 5)
Lena Dunham preceded her successful television series Girls with this surprisingly assured and appealing feature film, set among the Generation What Next in New York City. Dunham plays a recently graduated college student who moves back in with her successful photographer mother (Laurie Simmons, actually Dunham’s mother) and sister (Grace Dunham, ditto) and has no idea what to do next. She goes to the odd party, she gets a job as a day hostess at a local restaurant, and has encounters both good and bad with the opposite sex, but at her centre she is completely lost. What’s most appealing about this film, however, is how beautifully it strikes a balance: Dunham’s meandering never goes as far as whiny self-indulgence, but the moments of elation are never shrill or overpowering either (it’s the film Xavier Dolan is apparently determined to never make). A sharp visual palette is matched with terrific characters and some genuinely poignant but never overplayed moments for a wonderful experience.
Directed by Lena Dunham
Screenplay by Lena Dunham
Cinematography by Jody Lee Lipes
Music by Teddy Blanks
Production Design by Jade Healy
Film Editing by Lance Edmands