Lena Dunham is a figure of controversy. On-screen she’s fearless in the face of provocative nude scenes. In her personal life, she’s been carefree despite accusations of everything from nepotism to racism.
Love her or hate her, Dunham has been quiet for quite some time. We’ll see how the general public receives her newest project, Sharp Stick, which explores Dunham’s usual depiction of young-adult sexuality. But the film also challenges Dunham’s image as a quirky comedy queen. The most important question, though, is: is anybody still paying attention?
Sharp Stick follows the unorthodox sexual re-awakening of twenty-six-year-old Sarah Jo (Kristine Froseth). At seventeen, Sarah Jo undergoes a radical hysterectomy which curbs her journey of self-discovery.
Later on, she finds herself working as the babysitter for the son of Zach (Jon Bernthal) & Heather (Lena Dunham). Her sexual appetite is reawakened after she loses her virginity to Zach and she is once again on a journey to discover who she is and what she wants – particularly in the bedroom.
Lena Dunham has never shied away from nude scenes or touchy topics in the bedroom. She’s once again using her role as a writer, producer, and director to explore the sexual realities & explorations of young women in her work.
Behind the camera
Lena Dunham is as much a stranger to working behind the camera as she is to being nude in front of them. Meaning, she’s no stranger at all. Dunham’s first time as a director was for her 2009 short film, Creative Nonfiction.
However, Tiny Furniture was her first critically acclaimed film. Like Dunham’s first, she plays the lead character whose journey as a film student is derailed only by her personal mishaps & insecurities.
Dunham’s devil-may-care style of telling women’s stories was best exemplified by her work on the HBO hit series Girls. From public masturbation to golden showers, Dunham successfully set out to change the landscape of how Hollywood talks about young adult relationships.
Unfortunately for Lena Dunham, her tendency toward nude scenes wasn’t the only pot she stirred. Girls received much flack for everything from lack of racial diversity to accusations of nepotism among the main cast. For example, Allison Williams is the daughter of former MSNBC news Brian Williams.
Dunham also received backlash when she penned what many have called a racist essay in 2011 following her trip to Japan. In it, she compares Japanese professionals to children playing dress-up. She also shows a tendency to think of Japanese cultures as strange & off-putting.
Some may argue her perspective as naive because of her age & inexperience in international travel. Yet, Dunham has faced similar accusations of racism due to the lack of racial diversity in her projects. There’s also the time she accused Aurora Perrineau of lying about her sexual assault accusations against former Girls writer Murray Miller.
Despite her personal controversies, Lena Dunham remains a well-known & talented figure in the entertainment industry. Sharp Stick is a product of Dunham’s lack of fear when showing her characters in the nude – physically or emotionally.
Film lovers can view Sharp Stick through the Sundance website on January 24th at 7 am (PST). They simply need to log in, add the film to their personal viewing schedule, and then purchase a ticket to watch online or in person.
Once a ticket is purchased, the viewer has access to Sharp Stick until January 25th at 7 am (PST). The 2022 Sundance Festival, like many others, is accommodating to the new social rules of working in a pandemic. Dunham may be back, but only time will tell if the interest of the general public has also returned.
Are you a fan of Lena Dunham? Are you sick of her and her nude scenes? Do you care about her making a comeback? Let us know in the comments below!