Review: ‘The Map of Tiny Perfect Things’ charts the contours of a time-loop romantic fantasy

Kyle Allen and Kathryn Newton in "The Map of Tiny Perfect Things."
(Amazon Studios)

From “Groundhog Day” to “Happy Death Day,” “Edge of Tomorrow” to “Palm Springs,” our loop of time-loop movies keeps repeating, with each commenting on the nature of time and existence. “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” adds a wrinkle to the genre with its nerdy but accessible slant of comedy, fantasy and romance.

When we meet Mark (Kyle Allen), the mischievous but goodhearted teen is on his umpteenth turn repeating a single day. His routine is down to a science, designing every moment for his solitary amusement, while no one else knows the day is stuck in a loop. But then he encounters fellow teenager Margaret (Kathryn Newton), who shares his predicament, and he’s not so lonely anymore. Together, they catalog each random moment of delight in their town, finding every joy amidst the monotony.

“The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” gets appropriately geeky, referencing nerd-culture touchstones like its time-looping antecedents and “Doctor Who,” while never alienating the cool kids (or any adults) in the room. Its concept is based more on sweetness than in science; if you haven’t gotten to honors physics or took it decades ago, this won’t be beyond your understanding. The feelings here are universal — even if the audience hasn’t experienced their own time loop.


Based on his own short story, “The Magicians” novelist Lev Grossman’s script is full of heart, though director Ian Samuels misses a few of the details in its execution. But “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” mingles happiness and sadness as easily as it does genres, ultimately resulting in a film that is its own little joy.

‘The Map of Tiny Perfect Things’

Rated: PG-13, for brief strong language, some teen drinking and sexual references

Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Playing: Available Feb. 12 on Amazon Prime Video