The Map of Tiny Perfect Things: A Good Use of an Old Trope
Skyler Johnson ‘22 / Emertainment Monthly Comics Section Editor
It’s not Valentine’s Day anymore, but if you’re still interested in seeing a fun, sweet romance movie, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things will be the perfect film for you. It follows an easygoing but ditzy boy, named Mark (Kyle Allen) and the smart, jaded Margaret (Kathryn Newton) as they are forced to relive the same day over and over again.
This is the most clever use of the classic Groundhog’s Day plot that’s become common in movies and TV shows. There was a time when every long running Disney show would feature this plotline in at least one episode. After all, it’s an interesting idea. You’re forced to go back in time and relive the same day, and the entertainment comes from how the characters interact with the environment. This film does things differently; they never show the first time they experienced their day. The movie starts after the characters have been experiencing this phenomenon for a while.
Mark and Margaret interact with their surroundings in unique ways. They stop accidents from happening, for example, and make destructive decisions as they know they will face no consequences for them. You can tell the creators sat and thought of every single thing these characters could do with their situation.
It was impressive how much thought went into the consequences of leaving that time loop. After all, if the day gets repeated over and over again, the state of the world will stay the same—and never get worse. They’ll never have to grow old and never deal with the world being made worse. That presents an interesting conflict the film fully addresses.
The characters themselves are both likeable. Mark is a genuinely nice guy who you want to succeed. While he does have his flaws, it’s hard not to root for him. Margaret is an interesting contrast, as she provides the most interesting insight into the reality they’re living in, and plays off of Mark well. In the end, you’re rooting for their relationship to succeed.
This film was not perfect. The conflicts Mark went through were hard to follow and left open. Mark wants to be an artist, but his father doesn’t want that for him. How does the movie resolve this? Terribly.
The dad doesn’t want to put the son in art school not because he doesn’t believe in him, but because he can’t afford to. Why can’t they afford to? Because the father lost his job and his “only” option for income is to write a Civil War novel. And not even on a specific conflict or General. Just a generic Civil War novel. Yet the film acts like the son is being selfish for trying to be an artist even though his father is trying to write a novel instead of getting a real job. This conflict also doesn’t get the resolution it deserves.
Overall, this is a fun movie that you definitely should check out. A-.