My Birthday Present: A Night with Lena Dunham

Rob gave me the best birthday present ever. It put my Best of CVS Gift to shame.

I don't know how he did it, but he got me tickets to a screening of the movie This Is My Life followed by an on-stage conversation between Lena Dunham and Delia Ephron.  I knew the night was going to be good when I stepped out of my cab alone and Lena was also stepping out of her town car. I had that stop-smile-nod-say hi-moment. Then her assistant said, "Lena, stop! I want to take your picture. Oh this damn flash!" Lena stood alone in front of the MoMA and smiled. I love that she's still taking pictures in front of buildings. Totally genuine, like for her mom or scrapbook. She was so approachable and almost vulnerable standing there smiling. I had a fleeting moment when I wanted to jump in the picture with her. Instead I stared and watched.

We walked into the museum together and went our separate ways. She met up with friends (surprisingly old grown-up-parent-type friends) in the lobby while I waited for my friend Samantha Hahn. I don't spend nearly enough time with her. This was our first time hanging out without kids. Isn't that the best? To finally have a conversation with girlfriends without constant interruptions? I love Sam. I hope she doesn't mind me calling her that.

Sam and I walked into the theatre to watch This Is My Life. I cried from the moment it started until it ended. It wasn't even meant to be a tear jerker. I just related to it so much. I wanted to shout out, "No one understands this movie like me! You all think you do, but, no! I do the most!" I love that feeling.

The movie deals with simple issues just about every woman can relate to: sister relationships, work-life balance, mother-daughter relationships, using your life for writing material.  In the end, Lena basically said everyone in her life is material. I wish I could be that brave. I've got some good material/people totally going to waste.

I kept wondering why this movie wasn't a huge hit. It was made in 1992, the soundtrack is by Carly Simon, and it has a fabulous cast. Someone in the audience asked this question to Delia Ephron (she co-wrote the film with her sister Nora). She shrugged her shoulders and said, "It didn't go over well with audiences. It had a minimal release in New York and LA, that's it. I really don't know why. Just one of those things."

As soon as I got home, I ordered a copy. I had to have it in my life. I plan on having a movie night to introduce it to all my friends. But first, I have to buy a DVD player.


  1. happy birthday! It really sounds too fabulous -- ah, Lena...

  2. Oooh! Happy birthday! I'm a Sag too. We're the best. And totally modest to boot. What a great b-day present your husband got you. And so cool that Lena Dunham was so down-to-earth and approachable. Now I want to check this movie out too.

  3. What a wonderful birthday present!!

  4. It's not on Netflix! Argh! Drat!

    Sounds like an awesome, very New York birthday. :)

    1. i know!! so bummed. that's why i bought a copy. let's sign a petition to get it on netflix :)

  5. "I'd be Opal Moss?" "We'd all be The Moss."
    My most favorite movie! Lucky!!!

    1. haahah loved that part. i guess the Moss is based off a real guy with the last named moss who really ate paper!!

  6. This is/was the best birthday present! Seeing her in the street is to die for. I was literally looking for her around every corner my last six months living in NYC.

    I think John Waters recommend this film and he also noted how un-popular it was. I'm glad a revival is underway.

    Happy Birthday!

  7. Happy Birthday! I was looking on amazon and it was only just released on DVD. there are a few favs like that. I haven't seen this one, and I don't have VHS anymore, so I am going to have to figure this out as my local Blockbuster is not going to have it if Netflix didn't...

    1. i bought the DVD. it's worth every penny. do you have a DVD player?

  8. You know I loved it so much. Great movie, great night with a great friend. I'm so mad at Lena though.

  9. I can't wait to watch this movie!


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