Posted Tue Aug 31, 2021 at 03:11 PM PDT by Bryan Kluger
Harold Ramis and Bill Murray really set the bar high with their iconic and fantastically philosophical film Groundhog Day – about a person who relives the same day over and over again indefinitely. Since then there have been many movies that tackle the same idea and premise but in different genres with new twists or paths to go down. To start 2021 off, director Ian Samuels brings Lev Grossman’s story – The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things to life in a sweet, genuine, and at times – truly emotional landscape that feels original even though this gimmick has been done before. It really is a great film.
This notion of living the same day over and over is fascinating to watch every time it’s mentioned on screen. From Tom Cruise in the action-packed sci-fi film Edge of Tomorrow to the fun cult horror movie Happy Death Day, and of course the ever so recent romantic comedy with Andy Sandberg – Palm Springs, a person could think this plot device has over-stayed its welcome, much like found footage films or the zombie genre. That being said, every once in a while, there comes a movie that bowls itself a strike and breathes new life into a stale genre. The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things does just that with its new take on repetition and its charming characters.
The film follows Mark (Kyle Allen), a high-schooler who is already set in his loop of living the same day over and over again. He’s been in this repeated daily for a long time as he strolls through his small town, knowing every missed step, what people in town are going to say next, and even when a singular bird poops in a certain spot. He seems to really enjoy himself and make things a little better for others, but really loves how he’s crafted his perfect day where he is the star of the show. However, one day a teenage girl enters his life by the name of Margaret (the most excellent Kathryn Newton), who is stuck in the same exact time loop as him, where she has her own daily routines, which includes her disappearing at a certain time to take care of something.
From here, it seems like the usual romantic comedy of two people falling in love, but there is something much deeper beneath this surface as Mark is trying to figure out where Maragaret goes at night and maybe how to get out of the time loop, which might have something to do with making things a little better for people by drawing a map of the finer things in life that happen in this certain day. There are of course the scientific explanations and even some great, original experiments to get out of the time loop that is carried out, but the true core of this film is moving on and acceptance of one’s lot in life, no matter how extremely joyous or grief-stricken one could be. The film takes an honest turn and explores a very sensitive subject that everyone can relate to and they do hear with grace and wonder.
Kathryn and Kyle’s performances are infectious with their pure honest reactions, chemistry, and charming wit. Their struggles with family drama also strike a chord as well as they have to deal with these elements each and every day on repeat. Tom Bromley’s music score is energetic while at the same time being fantastical and Ian’s direction of a small town in Alabama feels right at home of somewhere anyone would want to live going through this strange phenomenon. The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things is a remarkable movie full of life, great characters, and a creative take on the Groundhog Day timeline scenario.
Written by: Bryan Kluger
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