We Have All the Time in the World, Don’t We?

A Review of Amazon Prime’s “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things”


Kyle Allen and Kathryn Newton’15 in “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” Photo Courtesy of Amazon Prime

It was Ferris Bueller who said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t look around once in a while, you could miss it.” In Amazon Prime’s newest young adult film “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things,” time stops for care-free Mark (Kyle Allen) who has been stuck in a temporal anomaly for quite a while and keeps reliving the same day over and over. The movie, which is essentially the teenage edition of Hulu’s “Palm Springs” that premiered last year, reiterates how “sometimes you have to get stuck to find something worth chasing.”

Mark thinks he is the center of the world and has grown accustomed to repeating the same day-skipping summer school, avoiding speaking with his dad about his future, winning the lottery, and constructing the town into his playhouse. However, one day, his daily attempt to pick up the girl at the community pool goes awry when the beachball he normally saves her from getting hit in the head with and falling into the pool is intercepted by an aloof blond he later confronts to find out is named Margaret (Kathryn Newton), and she is also stuck in the loop with him. With the help of his best friend Henry (Jermaine Harris) as his own moral anchor to give advice on what he has experienced, Mark starts trying to make sense of everything.

Margaret and Mark discuss the possibilities for why this is happening to them from a “fourth-dimension” to the end of the world. “Most of life is junk. It’s filler,” Mark tells her. “Then there are these moments. When all the randomness turns into something perfect.” The two devise a plan to find all of the “perfect” things in the town-a bird catching fish from a pond, a janitor playing the piano, an old lady winning a game of cards, and a young girl successfully executing a skateboard move-in hopes of solving the riddle and escaping the loop. Throughout this, the two begin to fall for each other, as they share their hopes and desires-Mark as an artist and Margaret as a mission specialist for NASA-and try to understand each other through pretend trips to space and consuming lots of ice cream sundaes. But, there is a side to Margaret that Mark doesn’t know about and makes her reluctant to pursue things further with him. 

The film is particularly appropriate during this time where everyone seems to feel like they are in “Groundhog Day.” There is a touching innocence to the film that captures the pinnacle of being young-where every day can feel repetitive and boring but also filled with confusion and pain, and all you want to do is grow up. 

Sofia Gomez ‘21 said, “There are definitely moments I wish I could have a do-over to get it right or make a better impression with someone. As much as we sometimes want to have the opportunity to fully exert our independence, it is scary to think about being on our own in the future. I liked how the movie really explored the soul-searching that naturally comes with adulting but did so very intimately.”

They both have the mentality that everyone else is dreaming, and they’re the only ones that are awake, but they learn this is not true. Mark soon grows weary of the time loop, but Margaret is not willing to leave. “You don’t actually think this is living do you?” he exclaims to Margaret. “We have all the time in the world, ” she replies. Mark responds, “This is not time. Time is the stuff that when you spend it you don’t get it back.” 

The film ultimately highlights the importance of moving on and letting things go so you can be open to receiving something better. But, with multiple Pokemon and Star Wars references, it does so with introspective warmth and light. It is a rom-com that leaves you with a lot of hope, and who doesn’t need some of that right now?