The film tells the story of quick-witted teen Mark (Kyle Allen), contentedly living the same day in an endless loop whose world is turned upside-down when he meets mysterious Margaret (Kathryn Newton) also stuck in the time loop. Mark and Margaret form a magnetic partnership, setting out to find all the tiny things that make that one day perfect. What follows is a love story with a fantastical twist, as the two struggle to figure out how — and whether — to escape their never-ending day.
It’s been quite a long time since the last time I watched a movie and had a gigantic smile on my face right from the opening scene all the way to the end, but Ian Samuels’ The Map of Tiny Perfect Things made me do exactly that. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age story that reminded me why the genre can be so much fun to watch and it also reminded me of why I got into movies in the first place.
On the surface, it tells the story of two teenagers named Mark and Margaret that seem to be hitting it off quite well. They love going around town and driving, walking, and living life in the moment with no worries at all. This is because they don’t have to worry about the consequences of their actions seeing as how they are stuck in the same day over and over again.
It’s a magnificent blend of comedy, romance, and science fiction and it’s a work of art the whole way through. Picture the best elements of the iconic Groundhog Day mixed with the best elements to a teen coming-of-age story such as The Edge of Seventeen or Love, Simon, and you get The Map of Tiny Perfect Things.
And the great thing about it all is that it never comes across as cheesy or too sappy. Its comedic moments always land and you will more than likely find yourself laughing consistently throughout and you’ll probably be reaching for a box of tissues during a scene or two in the third act as well.
Kyle Allen portrays the incredibly cool and relaxed teenager Mark that is making the best out of the situation he is in. Some people would be crying and screaming if they had to live the same day over and over – but not Mark. He is actually quite okay with it. He finds amusement and fun to be had in knowing what will happen next. Sometimes he will point this out to people around him who are shocked because they wonder how he knew what will happen next.
His performance was one that was a ton of fun to watch, but the real heart and soul of The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is Kathryn Newton, who has quickly become one of my favorite actresses of the past ten years. Her role in last year’s Freaky, my favorite film of the year, was incredibly impressive because she had the tricky task of portraying two wildly different characters in the same exact movie, and yet she made it look like a cakewalk.
As Margaret, Newton brings her A-game yet again and shows why she is one of the best actresses working today. She nails all the comedic bits as well as the more emotional and dramatic elements as well. There is one scene in here in which her character has a single tear streaming down her face after a long and beautiful monologue, and few people can pull it off as well as Newton did with that one scene alone.
Does The Map of Tiny Perfect Things follow some of the tried-and-true beats of other coming-of-age movies? Yes, it does. Some aspects of it are a little bit predictable, but it’s okay. The rest of the movie is filled with so much heart, love, and humor and is easily one of the most feel-good movies of the past few years.
Overall Grade: A
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language, some teen drinking, and sexual references
Directed by: Ian Samuels
Distributed by: Amazon Studios
Release Date: February 12, 2021
Running Time: 99 minutes