For a while, there have been quite a few original Amazon movies that I’ve been wanting to sit down and watch. However, it seems I always found an excuse not to. This past week, I sat down and started watching them. Mostly to escape. A bit to inspire. Maybe there is a sweet gen within the laundry list of new “original” releases. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things was one of those gems for me.
Over the last two years, we have been getting variations of the Bill Murray classic, Groundhogs Day. Last year’s Palm Springs was a fun turn on the idea. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things manages to give off that Palm Springs vibe from the get-go. However, it switches up within the first ten minutes. Mark (Kyle Allen) is that lovable loser sort. A typical teenager that is looking toward his future and the unhappiness that he is facing with his father.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a teen Groundhog’s Day
Much like Palm Springs, it doesn’t tell the audience what’s going on. Which is always a plus. However, unlike Groundhog Day, we don’t know how he ended up there. Yet, the movie never explains how his situation arose. It doesn’t hurt the film; I think too many people concern themselves with the origin as opposed to the actual story.
Mark’s one friend, Henry, is told everything that is happening to Mark. However, since he won’t remember any of it from one day to the next, he has a hard time following. We follow Mark through his daily routine, which is finding a way to talk to Phoebe, until something unexpected happened. A new girl walks through his routine and gets in the way. Someone he hasn’t seen before. Keep in mind, we don’t know how long he’s been in there.
Margaret (Kathryn Newton) seems to be caught in the same loop. Unlike Mark, she isn’t telling him everything. In the beginning, they are enjoying each other’s company. Eventually, Mark’s feelings begin to grow and want to move forward. Margaret isn’t so keen on the idea. This leads to friction and leads to a heart-breaking discovery.
The film was written by Lev Grossman, based on his original short story. There isn’t a lot of fat in the film, but it doesn’t force itself to the end. A lean hour and forty minutes, the film doesn’t feel like it’s rushed. However, another ten minutes longer and that would change. Shorter, and it would’ve meant losing one of the better character-building sequences.
It’s heart is what makes the film
Director Ian Samuels, who directed the Netflix film, Sierra Burgess is a Loser, took great pains to showcase the chemistry of his two leads, Kathryn and Kyle. The montage of them looking for the beautiful moments of the small town made me enjoy their time. While the film leans toward the teen audience, it allows itself to grab older viewers that may like this genre. For which I am one.
The film allows itself to breath in this environment. Margaret shifting between her inner pain and her desire to fall for Mark. Mark learning the lesson of the life around him. His family is in trouble, and he doesn’t know it. Both are allowed to grow together and apart. That is what makes the conclusion much more satisfying. The indie soundtrack manages to help a lot too.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is definitely a feel-good movie. A portion of the film caught me a bit off guard. Mostly because I experienced a piece in my life. Which allowed me to understand Margaret more, as I did with Mark. I think this will be added to my list of uplifting films that I’ll throw on when I need a bit of a pick me up.