The Map of the Tiny Perfect Things, currently available on Amazon Prime Video, is the latest in a long line of memorable movies about people stuck in time loops. Like Groundhog Day, Palm Springs, and Happy Death Day before it tracks its characters as they try to figure out why they are living the same day over and over again.
The film follows Mark (Kyle Allen) and Margaret (Kathryn Newton), two teenagers who discover independently that they are the only two people who realize they are in a time loop. They decide to work together to methodically catalogue every small moment of happiness they witness and mark it on the titular map.
Mark has to realize the big not-so-perfect things he has failed to see:
At first, Mark and Margaret believe if they can catalogue every small detail of the day that will be enough to free them from the time loop. Eventually, they realize it’s not working, and he suggests travelling to Japan and the International Date Line to try and get out of it that way.
There is just one problem, Margaret gets off the plane at the last second, leaving Mark baffled until he realizes that she’s been keeping a big secret from him. Her mother (Jorja Fox) has terminal cancer, and she is going to die that day. If there’s any reason why a person wouldn’t want to escape a never-ending time loop, it would be because they know it’s going to keep their loved one alive. With this newfound knowledge, Mark is able to see this huge part of Margaret’s life he’s been too busy to catalogue, and that things for her have been far from perfect all along.
Margaret finds the way to break the time loop:
Once Mark realizes that Margaret has been the key to resetting the space-time continuum, their fate is in her hands. Luckily, she’s adept enough to figure out how to get them out if the time loops for good.
While playing video games with Henry (Jermaine Harris), one of Mark’s friends, Margaret has a huge revelation about the things she needs to accept in her life and the fact that she can’t just keep spending her time trying to fix broken things. This discovery helps her realize what she has to do in order to help both her and Mark move on. The solution involves her making peace with her mother’s impending death and visiting the hospital for a final goodbye.
Then, she meets Mark by the pool and kisses him creating a moment that’s not just about fixing things, but about creating something new.
Her plans finally work, and she and Mark are able to finally move past the 16-hour window they have been reliving. While it’s a somewhat bittersweet ending, it’s ultimately a fitting resolution for The Map of Tiny Perfect Things. In order to finish the map, they had to let go of false attempts at perfection, and embrace the large, imperfect things that were holding them back from moving on.