A wholesome teen tale of repeated time

“The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” deserves some love


Photo courtesy of IMDb

“The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” on Amazon Prime Video is a breath of fresh, summery air for time loop movies.

Emma Baker, Editor-in-Chief

From “The Sandlot” to “Jurassic Park,” “Hocus Pocus” to “Mrs. Doubtfire,” the year 1993 cranked out dozens of killer classics. However, one movie in particular, “Groundhog Day,” set the stage for a particular idea to inspire the future: the repeated day or time loop motif.

The film “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things,” released to Amazon Prime Video on Feb. 12, 2021, captures that “Groundhog Day” essence into a fun, fresh and fantastical rom-com.

“The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” starts with main character Mark (Kyle Allen) waking up on what seems — to the viewer — to be an average day. But when he gets out of bed and goes downstairs to his dad, Daniel (Josh Hamilton) and sister, Emma (Cleo Fraser), things begin to take an unexpected turn. He knows the answer to his dad’s crossword puzzle, he knows when the toast is going to pop out of the toaster and he makes sure to call his sister a loser exactly when she calls him one.

The crazy continues as he leaves his house and walks through town. He stops a man from getting pooped on by a bird, he gives a lost girl, Phoebe (Anna Mikami), directions before she even asks for them and then, when he sees Phoebe at the pool later that day, he prevents her from getting hit in the face by a beach ball and falling into the water. 

Again and again and again, Mark goes through this routine. Until one day, he goes to save Phoebe once more, only to see that someone else — a girl he has never seen before — catches the beach ball and throws it away, disrupting Mark’s routine. 

The new girl, whose name we later learn to be Margaret (Kathryn Newton), rushes from the pool and drives away, leaving Mark wondering who that enigma could be. He spends his next days looking for her, hoping to find someone experiencing the same “temporal anomaly” as him. That’s when he goes to a local diner and notices a strange book and a large tip left on a table. Having never seen that before, he rushes out of the diner and finds the mysterious Margaret.

Before Margaret can get away again, he asks if they could get to know each other since they’re stuck in the same time loop. He gets her number, memorizing it since it won’t be in his phone once the clock strikes midnight and the day starts over.

They end up hanging out and enjoy their time together, leading them to make a map of all the tiny perfect things that happen on that day in their small town, such as a hawk swooping down to grab a fish out of a pond, a skateboarder landing an impressive jump, a biker gang stopping traffic to help a turtle cross the road or even an elderly woman dancing. 

Each night, however, Margaret takes off after getting a phone call from someone named Jared (Forrest Funk). While this unknown man doesn’t stop Mark from wanting to be romantically involved with Margaret, Margaret shows some hesitation. It isn’t until the film’s near end that both Mark and the viewer figure out Jared’s role in Margaret’s life.

Like everything else in this movie, the truth isn’t really as it seems, and there’s much more to the story than meets the eye. The fate of their relationship and their ability to get out of the time loop eventually rests all in Margaret’s hands.

The message of this movie is one that I really enjoy: appreciate life’s little things and find beauty in those small moments. The bright, crisp and summery cinematography complemented the message flawlessly, especially in the beginning. Mark’s repeated movements and activities weren’t so much robotic as they were smooth, carefree and intriguing. The subtle soundtrack also paired well with the film, letting the story and characters shine.

I also thought the acting was well executed and the comic delivery was spot on. There was irony, sarcasm, and awkward teenage flirting — what more could one want? It truly is a feel good movie, despite moments of bittersweet tragedy.

One of the things I thought was unnecessary to the movie was the attempt to “court” Phoebe before Margaret entered the picture. I think it could have been taken out to remove the loose end of “whatever happened to Phoebe?”

Yet, all in all, “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” was pretty perfect and spun the time loop motif in a cute and original way. I loved everything about it: the surprising plot, the unique characters, the sprinkles of humor and the touching message. It serves as a great reminder to love others, love the little things and treasure what you have while you have it. 5/5