Ever So Slightly Imperfect: Reviewing The Map of Tiny Perfect Things


Free-Photos from Pixabay

Inspired by a short story written by Lev Grossman and released for free on Prime Video earlier this month, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is decisively not the worst teen movie ever made. However, it isn’t quite as perfect as viewers hoped. The few short glimpses of humanity that make up the ‘perfect things’ were lost to a leisurely and surprisingly grim plot.  


Directed by Ian Samuels, the first shot of The Map of Tiny Perfect Things opens on 17-year-old Mark (played by Kyle Allen) waking up, greeting his family, and going about his morningHowever, it seems that every move Mark makes (like catching a pretty girl from falling into pool) is perfectly rehearsed and coordinated, almost like he knew it was going to happen.  


The audience soon learns that Mark has been stuck in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over again and having all kinds of adventures (such as tying a bunch of balloons to a lawn chair, repeatedly failing to save the aforementioned pretty girl at the pool, driving a bulldozer around town, etc.). Nothing changes, until Mark suddenly finds Margaret (played by Kathryn Newton), a reserved yet clever girl who appears to be experiencing the same temporal anomaly. The two quickly become friends and decide to make the most of their time by documenting every perfect thing that happens around town that day, bonding over their never-ending future and the newfound monotony of their lives.  


It is undeniable that The Map of Tiny Perfect Things has some very wholesome moments, especially while Mark and Margaret are finding the titular ‘perfect things’ (for example, turtle crossingand winning lottery tickets in this movie genuinely made me tear up). These little positive moments sprinkled through the film are nice because we rarely notice those moments in our own day to day lives. The film also explores an impressive range of subplots and themes (such as grief and coming of age), which is refreshing to see in a fairly baseline teen movie.  


Howeverviewers may find it hard to get invested in The Map of Tiny Perfect Things. Based on the plot’s chronology, it feels like viewers are thrown immediately into what should be the middle of the movie. This makes it difficult to get emotionally invested in the characters’ struggles later, and robs the audience of the quintessential scene when the main character realizes they are in a time loop. Oftentimes, those kinds of scenes are the best part of movies that feature time alterations, making The Map of Tiny Perfect Things disappointing in that regard. 


Although the speed does eventually pick up, the beginning half hour of the movie is completely stagnant. It seems that everything in the first half of the film’s 99-minute run time is stuck in a time loop along with the characters: slow dialogue, slow plot, repeat.  


Additionally, the movie cannot decide if it wants to fully explain the time loop or not, and instead gives absolutely no explanation until a half-hearted, incomplete attempt at the very end of the filmGroundhog Daya time-loop classic from the 1990s, does not attempt to explain how its time loop works or why the main character, Phil (played by Bill Murray), is stuck in it. However, this approach still works, allowing the audience members to simply enjoy the movie’s plot as it is. The approach in The Map of Tiny Perfect Things simply does not work. In short, choose a thorough and thought-out explanation or don’t try to give one at all.  


At the end of the day (pun intended), The Map of Tiny Perfect Things earns a solid 3/5 stars from me, making the movie spectacularly average. I would recommend this movie to someone looking for a new teen movie or someone just looking to kill time, but I would also tell them to go ahead and skip the first half hourAlthough there were some redeeming moments, I can definitively say that I will not be watching A Map of Tiny Perfect Things on a loop.