The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a smart time-loop teen comedy

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things -- Courtesy of Amazon Studios
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things -- Courtesy of Amazon Studios /

Amazon Prime’s The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things is a romantic teen comedy that encourages us to savor the best moments in our lives. Directed by Ian Samuels and based on Lev Grossman’s short story of the same name, the film takes advantage of the time-bending template that has become popular in recent months in such films as Hulu’s Palm Springs.

The conceit of this movie is that our main character knows that he is trapped in an infinite glitch. The coming of age fantasy film begins as we follow 17-year-old Mark played by newcomer Kyle Allen. Mark goes through his daily morning breakfast routine. He teases his younger sister while repeating every word she says back to her like the lyrics of his favorite Taylor Swift song.

Mark seems happy with his mundane existence as he makes his way to school. He even creates a clever plot to rescue a girl he likes from getting injured with a wayward beachball while standing poolside. His calculations are way off. But sometimes he is successful at giving her a walk home without being invited to stay. Every day he stops by his best friend Henry’s house to watch him play video games.

Henry (Jermaine Harris) is his moral anchor to give advice on what he has experienced. Henry explains to Mark that repeating the same day means that there are infinite do-overs. However, the possibility exists that just like the calculations for numerical pi, things can stay the same and go on forever.

Henry stays focused on not getting repeatedly killed in War Fight, but his skill set doesn’t match what he needs to survive. The two friends discuss time travel theories, girls, and movies like Groundhog Day. At first, the biggest dread in Mark’s life is having his dad (Josh Hamilton) sit him down for a nightly talk about his future.

Luckily, he finds creative ways to avoid the chat about his career as an artist once the world magically resets like clockwork. The universe rewinds at the stroke of midnight, but he’s the only one who remembers exactly what happened. One day everything changes when Margaret (Kathryn Newton) intervenes in the beach ball fiasco at the pool.  “I was wondering… This is going to sound  really strange, really bizarre, but are you experiencing any kind of temporal anomaly in your life?” Mark asks Margaret. “Is it the thing where the same day keeps happening?”

This is the exact moment of their meet-cute. Mark discovers that he is not the only person stuck in a parallel universe. The witty script doesn’t feel formulaic because the two actors have good chemistry. Allen and Newton do a great job embodying youthful awkwardness and teenage angst. They continue to walk a fine line with their flirtatious dance through purgatory in the fourth dimension.

“Instead of an island. We are marooned in a day,” Margaret opines to Mark as the seniors become more attached to each other. Director Samuels is adept in the rom-com genre and is known for helming Netflix’s YA hit Sierra Burgess is a Loser.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things unfolds as a teenage version of A Beautiful Mind, which was also produced by Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman. The pair have in-depth conversations about math, Sisyphus, metaphors, and the true meaning of life.

“Mark, look at yourself. You’re a nerd who sucks at math. Where does that leave you?… So, the first thing you need to know about math is that it’s always perfect,” Margaret says while teasing her new companion on their shared journey through the matrix.

Star Wars fans can rejoice at hearing Henry’s spot on Yoda voice impressions and seeing a cute lost pooch named Chewbarka. The pair begin their bonding ritual by sharing their own individual experiences witnessing a special moment in time that they consider to be meaningful. “Most of life is junk. It’s filler,” Mark tells her. “Then there are these moments. When all the randomness turns into something perfect.”

Mark and Margaret collect these naturally occurring anomalies around town to create their own personal hand-drawn time map of “perfect” things. They eventually discover that seizing the day to see a hawk swooping down or viewing an impromptu piano recital could be the keys to solving their riddle. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a new spin on young love that will stimulate your mind and touch your heart.

Next. I Care a Lot review: A slick, snappy thriller. dark

Have you seen The Map of Tiny Perfect Things? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.