There is nothing more timeless than the time loop movie. Be it Groundhog Day or Edge of Tomorrow (both name checked here with gleeful abandon) and honestly, considering lately, each day has the tendency to roll into the last one and so on and so forth, it has become fairly prescient as well. The fact that The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, an adaptation of a short story written by Lev Grossman (who also wrote the screenplay), never benefits from this accidental fortune despite hitting all the right notes in its early story speaks to director Ian Samuels entertaining but small tale of adolescence and moving on. Following two teenagers Mark (Kyle Allen) and Margeret (Kathryn Prescott), inextricably linked in a small town suffering through a ‘temoral anomaly’ as they refer to it. Cursed or blessed to live through the same day over and over, they set out to find the perfect little moments of other peoples day to make sense of the one they can’t leave behind.
Feeling like a love letter to the sub-genre, Samuels’ film feels like a mesh of Before I Fall and About Time, constantly straddling the line between light hearted teen drama and full blown melodrama. Each film used its concept and repeating narrative wisely, moving on from the confines of having the same moment play out over and over. Grossman here revels in repeating, only getting to the heart of his story in the dwindling moments of a film gasping for drive earlier than it is delivered. While Allen is a convincing lead and Prescott makes the most of an ending that plays to the actors strength, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things spends too much time treading water, lingering in the easy moments, afraid of changing the dynamic and tone of a perfectly pleasant but forgettable romantic comedy. Released two days before Valentine’s Day, this romance is nice in the moment, in the bubble it exists in but when it bursts, its impossible not to notice there wasn’t much inside it to begin with.