The Map of Tiny Perfect Things - B
Rated PG-13, 99 minutes
Streaming on Amazon Prime
The charming, offbeat "The Map of Tiny Perfect Things" is nothing new - it's really just "Groundhog Day" for the young set. It has a sluggish first act, it picks up the pace for some touching moments later in the film.
This is the story of quick-witted teen Mark ("American Horror Story's" Kyle Allen), contentedly living the same day in an endless loop whose world is turned upside-down when he meets mysterious Margaret (Kathryn Newton of "Halt and Catch Fire") also stuck in the time loop. Mark and Margaret form a magnetic partnership, setting out to find all the tiny things that make that one day perfect, and somehow end up falling for each other.
Part rom com, part time-loop comedy, the enjoyable "The Map of Tiny Perfect Things" is directed by short film director Ian Samuels in his feature debut and is written by Lev Grossman based on his short story of the same name. The scattered first chapter is evident of first-time director Samuels inexperience, with the plot seemingly a little all over the place, but he regains some footing and once the film has more focus - namely Mark and Margaret's relationship - it becomes much better.
It helps that both Allen and Newton are immensely likable, with their warm chemistry keeping the pace of the film flowing at a nice energy level. You're not exactly sure why they're stuck until they realize the relationships around them aren't perfect - especially with Mark's sister and dad (Anna Mikami and Josh Hamilton), and Margaret's ill mother ("CSI's" Jorja Fox, initially unrecognizable). In the process they fall for each other, which may or may not be the real way out of the loop.
"The Map of Tiny Perfect Things" is a fun, poignant way to discovering what's working in our lives and not working. While the story isn't original and the ending too happy, it's an entertaining way to get where you need to be.