Did we need another movie where the lead character is caught in a time loop, reliving the same day over and over? Not really, but that’s not reason enough to write off “The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things.”
As the movie begins, Mark (Kyle Allen) has been repeating the day for quite a while. No matter what he does over the course of those hours, when midnight hits, he’s returned to the morning, waking up in his bed. He has no idea why it’s happening, or why no one else has any idea what he’s going through. But he’s made a routine out of the day, witnessing various events and making minor moves that temporarily change the flow of activities in his small town (until they reset).
But one day, Margaret (Kathryn Newton), who he’s never noticed before, shows up at the pool and intercepts a thrown beach ball that usually bounces off another girl’s head. Intrigued, he follows her until he can ask if she’s experiencing a “temporal displacement.” When she acknowledges she is, the two of them share some of the things they’ve seen and experienced. While Mark is obviously attracted to her, she’s only interested in a platonic relationship and dealing with some further mystery she doesn’t want to share with him.
Since Margaret is the only one who can relate to the daily restarts, Mark convinces her to help him draw up a map that shows the places they’ve seen something special — the lake where a bird swoops down to grab a fish, a girl showing off her skateboard moves to some guys, a janitor taking a break to play a piano. He thinks that cataloging them might give them a clue to how to get out of the time loop, and they certainly have plenty of opportunities to find more.
Yet Margaret doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to solve the puzzle, getting a kick out of all the time they have. To that, Mark replies, “This is not time. Time is the stuff that when you spend it, you don’t get it back.”
It’s clever lines like that from screenwriter Lev Grossman — who even name-checks “Groundhog Day” and “Edge of Tomorrow” (another time loop movie) in the dialogue — that make “The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things” work.
It’s not up to the standard of the Bill Murray/Andie MacDowell classic, nor the Natasha Lyonne Netflix series “Russian Doll,” nor even Richard Curtis’ underrated 2013 romcom, “About Time.” But it’s enjoyable enough, and director Ian Samuels gets fun performances out of Newton and Allen, who have wonderful chemistry. It’s also interesting to see this kind of story told through the eyes of two teenagers who have yet to experience how much life has to offer.
I give “The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things” a 7 out of 10. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime Video.