I was so intrigued as soon as I read about this film. First, it is written by Lev Grossman, of Magicians fame. I really loved that series and while I haven’t read the books, felt like anything written by him would be engaging and interesting. Plus, the idea of two people reliving the same day over and over sounded really intriguing. I was curious if they would be able to create a unique enough story for it to stand out from similar movies and I have to say they did succeed. “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” is wonderfully imaginative, it is absorbing, the characters are captivating, and most of all, the story isn’t quite what you expect. And ultimately the message of the film is profoundly moving, which is exactly what I would expect from a story by Lev Grossman.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, directed by Ian Samuels, written by Lev Grossman, and from a short story by Grossman, is about a young man, Mark (Kyle Allen) who is contentedly living the same day in an endless loop until his world is upended when he meets mysterious Margaret (Kathryn Newton) who is also stuck in the time loop. The pair form a partnership as they explore the nature of the time loop and try to find all the tiny things that can make a day perfect. Mark falls for Margaret but does she feel the same? And as they look for ways to escape their never-ending day, will she even want to escape with him?
Part of what I loved about this movie is that it isn’t what you expect. When Mark meets Margaret, you’re set up for a love story but this movie is so much more than that. It is also far beyond just a creative spin on the movie Groundhogs Day, which the film consistently references as a shorthand for the other characters. Unlike that film, while there are indeed lessons both Mark and Margaret need to face, it is not about fixing their behavior. Rather it is about appreciating the time each of us has, enjoying all the imperfectly perfect moments, and finding joy in the tiny things. It is about friendship, love, and yes, helping other people. It is about all the relationships that both Mark and Margaret have in their lives and embracing those connections. There is more than that but to tell more would be to spoil some of the magical moments of the movie. But suffice to say that there are many layers to this film, all worth exploring.
It is imaginative. When each day rolls back, the effects of that are interesting and heighten the magic of the situation. In addition, it is the effect of Mark and Margaret seeking out those perfect moments, how they find them but also how they and others react to those tiny slices of time. Mark creates a map and as they add each point in time, the complexity and the magic increase until we get to see the culmination of their work, and the final result is wondrous.
It is just beautiful how the writer explores how humans interact with time. As teens, we want time to speed up so we can become adults but we regret that as we get older. This film explores the impact of time, both the things we gain and the people we lose. It does so by looking to those imperfect moments that end up being the memories that we carry forward, those memories we hold as perfect. Ultimately, the resolution ends up being profoundly moving and poignant but also magical.
While the love story is not the full scope of the film, it is the chemistry between Kyle Allen and Kathryn Newton that carries the story. Kyle is charming and moving as Mark while Kathryn is mysterious and compelling as Margaret. Their interactions are endearing and beautiful, even as they stumble in their communications. But they both hold together this story and make it enchanting. While we meet many in the town, there are a few that stand out, like Mark’s father played by Josh Hamilton, his sister (Anna Mikami), and his best friend Henry (Jermaine Harris). Each of them adds to the depth of the film, especially in Mark’s interactions with Henry who he eventually tells about the time loop but of course, Henry never remembers when time resets. Mark also carries lessons he learns from his sister to listen and care more about the people surrounding him. Each actor is skilled, engaging and brings just the right element to the movie.
There is very little not to like in this movie. While it is not an original idea, the spin on the idea is different. The exploration of time and relationships makes it unique and the acting makes it charming. While there are many moments within the film, much to absorb, the story is one that will profoundly impact audiences and the dynamic between Mark and Margaret endearing.
If you enjoy movies with love stories and exploration of time, if you like films that explore the dynamics between individuals and what it means to appreciate the world around you, this is the movie for you. It is wildly imaginative, creative, and unique. It is profoundly moving with beautiful acting from both the leads as well as the supporting actors and ultimately, the story is not quite what you expect with many layers of meaning and depth. I loved every moment of this story.
4.5 perfect moments out of 5.
Official Website: Watch The Map of Tiny Perfect Things | Prime Video
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The Map of Tiny Perfect Things launches exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on February 12, 2021.