By Suzanne Ordas Curry
I make it a habit not to read too deeply into any preview into a movie. So I read the synopsis of The Map of Tiny Perfect Things on Amazon Prime and filed it away into my list of Movies to Watch. I like romcoms and I like meta movies.. space, time travel...anything. This seemed to check off the boxes. It billed itself as similiar to Groundhog Day. This movie has at its heart a young couple Margaret (Katherine Newton) and Mark (Kyle Allen) reliving the same day.
Was it like the classic Groundhog Day? Yes and no. Of course, when you watch a movie where something unusual is happening (in this case, repeating the same day over and over again) one is always thinking "why?" is this happening and "how" will they get out of it? So of course, I had my theories as I watched this movie about an adorable teen couple finding each other and falling in love while making it a goal to search for the "perfect things" in that one particular day. Why was it that day? Were they both going to die perhaps that day?
As the movie got closer to its end, there were certain reveals that made one theorize that it had more to do with the girl than than the guy. And that was true in the end. However, as cute and heart-warming as this movie was, I was a bit disappointed at the ending. I can see why the Margaret wanted to not progress to the next day in her short life, but for Mark the day was not comparably as pivotal in this life. We were left hanging if it had to do with anything with the mother. He did grow as a human being during the very long day but that's been done before.
It was a rather new twist to the Groundhog Day approach (living the same day over and over again but having free will - though that free will sometimes does and sometimes doesn't affect those around you) in that there were two people (like Palm Springs) but it made me wonder why he was chosen. Perhaps in the universe of this movie it was a commonplace occurrence that there were many people living the same day over and over again.
The movie did not start out as most Groundhog types do... a desire to return to normal and a quest to find out how to. Rather, it was more focused on searching for the perfect things in the day they had been given. So though the meta aspect of it was not fully explained, the message of this movie, especially during this pandemic is clear. There is beauty and joy in each and every day, you just have to find it or make it yourself. It's a great message for everyone, especially young people.
PS Kudos to writer Lev Grossman and the filmmakers for making it suitable for children and teens and viewable with family in the room. Adults may enjoy it but its market is young adult.