Movie #51 2021: The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021)

Unintentionally, this is the first 2021 release I’ve watched so far this year! Of course with the ongoing pandemic, there’s still relatively little in the way of new content, so forgive me if you will. It’s a shame that the first 2021 film I watched had to have such a long-winded and bizarre title, but put that to one side for a moment because it’s what’s on the inside of this move that counts.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is actually adapted from a short story by Lev Grossman, so I guess we can accept the film’s title to an extent. Starring Kathryn Newton and Kyle Allen in the lead roles, this is a teen rom-com mixed with a science-fiction time loop fantasy. We begin the film with the realisation that Allen’s Mark has been reliving the same day over and over again for quite some time. He does the usual Bill Murray-sequel things, like learning a new instrument and catching a ball before it hits an unsuspecting girl in the face. Suddenly however, he meets Margaret, who happens to be there for the first time one day, which seems strange as he’s never seen her there before. He quickly meets up with her, and finds out that she too has been reliving the same day as he has. The two of them band together to see whether or not they can stop the time loop from continuing on forever.

At first glance, The Map looks and feels like a low budget indie movie with all its muted pastel palettes and indie-pop soundtrack… and yet it’s an Amazon original?! Interesting. 

What’s so great about the movie – besides its lovely aesthetic – is that it’s completely self-aware. It knows that this time loop schtick has been done many times before – one of the characters even mentions Groundhog Day very early on. Where it’s unique however is in the fact that it throws its audience in at the deep end immediately, and the main character has already been in this loop for some time before the movie begins. There’s no time wasted on Mark realising that he’s stuck in the same day, as again, the screenwriters clearly know we’ve seen it all before. Smart. 

Sadly, the two main characters are really quite boring. Mark and Margaret are both your average white, nihilistic teens, who seem to have very little back Tory. Kathryn Newton tries her hardest to make her character more well-rounded and interesting, but the writers seem to have simply “made her intelligent” and that’s her entire background. A big meh on that front, but that’s not to say that these two young actors don’t do their very best here.

The underlying message here is to live life to the fullest and to really take note of the small yet beautiful things in life. No, it’s not original in any way, but it’s really sweet and it’s heart is definitely in the right place. 

I actually really quite enjoyed the concept for the most part as timey wimey stuff is almost always really fun, so can’t really wrap my head around why it felt so long at only 100 minutes. Ten minutes shorter and I might be tempted to give it 4 Qs here. There’s nothing notable, but it’s cute regardless.

Thankfully in the end, the ridiculous title makes perfect sense.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Rating: ½


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