Movie Review: THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS Starring Kyle Allen, Kathryn Newton
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, the latest film from director Ian Samuels (Sierra Burgess is Not a Loser,) releases today exclusively through Amazon Prime Video. Based on the short story by Lev Grossman, we see Mark and Margaret, two adolescents stuck in a time loop forced to relive the same day over and over, while being the only two individuals who seem to be aware of the anomaly. Both characters, whom thought they were caught in the experience alone, find solace knowing that they aren’t the only ones reliving the same experiences time and time again.
We see our leads in Kyle Allen (All My Life and American Horror Story) and Kathryn Newton (still riding the success of her most recent flick, Freaky). Both performers seem to have the parts specifically written for them, with Allen stealing the limelight as Mark, formulated to be the typical ‘dreamy’ and ‘wonderous’ protagonist required for all teen romance films. As the story progresses, we see Mark desperate to bring the time loop to an end, while Margaret seems much more content with the circumstances of the ever-looping day. Together, the two set out to discover all of the perfect moments the day has to offer. Connecting while mapping out these beautiful circumstances, these “perfect things,” the relationship between Mark and Margaret grows stronger, as both teens discover all the glorious moments that the day has to offer. Believing that finding all the perfect things could be the possible resolution to time continuing, Mark is determined to experience life to the fullest, while Margaret seems hesitant to leave the day behind. On the surface, Margaret seems to be the average moody and sarcastic portrayal of a girl caught in an uncontrollable circumstance. However, there is much more to her than both Mark and the audience realize, and a specific reason as to why this day is so important.
This type of film has found some recent success over the past few years with releases like Happy Death Day and Palm Springs (which seems all too familiar to this movie – almost as if it was regurgitated and engineered for a younger audience). Channeling the essence of Groundhog Day, it seems The Map of Tiny Perfect Things can’t help but feel redundant. While there isn’t a specific genre for this type of flick, it can only be done so many times before the idea becomes tired. That being said, a refreshing aspect of the film is the purposeful concentration on the characters interaction with the world around them (again, those ‘tiny perfect things’), and reminds the viewer of the beautiful moments in everyday life that can be so easily dismissed. Further, it takes a look at all the wonders that can truly happen in just one single day, an interesting dynamic that breathes some fresh air into the tiresome trope.
The chemistry between the performers is also solid, and as a viewer, you won’t help but smile at the quirkiness of the two teens as they discover the best parts of each other. The film is a love story, in more than one way. With many small moments of laughter, the target audience seems to be that of other streaming successes The Kissing Booth and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, with the latter seeing its final installment releasing on Netflix today as well. The publicity surrounding the film marketed it with these intentions, meant to be a fluffy Valentine’s day weekend release. But, the competition this week is stiff and the release calendar sees several films all pining for a special holiday weekend release. With that being said, does The Map of Tiny Perfect Things have what it takes to be a contender, garnering enough attention for a successful streaming debut?
For that answer, we will have to wait and see. But, if looking for a light-hearted romantic dramedy, especially one appealing to a YA audience, the film might be right up your alley, so give it a watch and decide for yourself.