The Map of Tiny Perfect Things Parent Guide
This is an unusually thoughtful teen film, packed with big questions, a sweet teen romance, and a charming story.
Parent Movie Review
“We’re castaways,” says Margaret (Kathryn Newton), “except instead of an island we’re marooned in a day.”
It’s an apt summary of the bizarre situation in which she and Mark (Kyle Allen) find themselves. They’re caught in a time loop - the same day occurs over and over again and everyone else is completely oblivious of the strange temporal phenomenon.
With nothing but time, the teens decide to look for all the “tiny perfect things” they would normally miss in a world where time runs swiftly. As they pursue their quest, Mark and Margaret find themselves falling for each other.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is an unusually thoughtful romantic film. Not the temporal loop part of the story – the explanation winds up being rather silly. (Frankly, most movies that mess with time have dodgy rationales, but if you can suspend your disbelief, you’ll be able to enjoy the ride.) What makes this film stand out is the bigger questions it raises about time, relationships, and life overall.
As the story progresses, Mark and Margaret repeatedly debate their differing views of their predicament. Is it, as Margaret suggests, a gift, a wonderful opportunity that lets them do whatever they want while keeping at bay a future that will invariably come with restrictions, burdens, and suffering? Or does the temporal loop, as Mark believes, strand them in time, choking off any kind of growth or meaningful life?
As the teens debate time, other questions appear that give us lots to think about. Is time something we gain or lose? Are our past experiences time lost or time gained? Does time run ahead of us or behind? What do we do with the time we have?
These differing views of time will naturally lead young viewers to bigger questions about the purpose of life. Is it to gather as much happiness and fun as possible? Or is it to learn and grow and contribute? Watching Mark and Margaret stretch and broaden their view of their own lives is one of the real pleasures of the film – and one of the best reasons for teens to watch it. If you’re hoping your teen will absorb messages about kindness, selflessness and family unity, Mark’s newfound ability to see his family as people deserving respect and care is worth the price of admission.
With only minor content issues (aside from some scenes of underage drinking), The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a good choice for teen viewers. It’s well written, briskly paced, and more emotionally real than many films of the genre. The main characters are appealing and acted with charm by Kyle Allen and Kathryn Newton. Best of all, it’s also funny, with plenty of moments where I laughed out loud, jaded film critic that I am. The movie might not be perfect, but it’s still pretty darn good, and in the world of adolescent cinema, that’s a win.Directed by Ian Samuels. Starring Kyle Allen, Katheryn Newton, Jermaine Harris. Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release February 12, 2021. Updated October 2, 2021
Watch the trailer for The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Map of Tiny Perfect Things rated PG-13? The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for brief strong language, some teen drinking and sexual references
Violence: Weapons fire and blood are seen on a video game the characters are playing. There are repeated car accidents with no injuries. A character jumps off a roof and is unharmed. Characters vandalize a house. A character breaks an arm while skateboarding but suffers no lasting damage.
Sexual Content: Teenage boys mention “getting laid”. A man’s pants accidentally slip revealing his boxers. A teen boy and girl kiss on a few occasions.
Profanity: There are fewer than a dozen profanities, including one sexual expletive, two scatological curses and a variety of terms of deity and anatomical expressions.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A teenager carries a flask of what is presumably alcohol. There are several scenes of teens drinking alcohol, both in social situations and alone while coping with difficult emotions.
Page last updated October 2, 2021
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things Parents' Guide
What do you think is the purpose of your life? What would you do if you were trapped in a time loop? Would that make it easier or more difficult to achieve your goals?
Related home video titles:
The classic film about a man caught in a time loop is Groundhog Day, in which a cynical weatherman discovers that his life is stuck in February 2nd.
Doctor Strange features an unusual superhero: a surgeon turned mystic who can manipulate reality – including time – in order to save it.
Palm Springs features another couple trapped in an infinite time loop, this time at a wedding. The film explores issues of choices and consequences, but is burdened with significant adult content.
A young girl dies on February 12th, only to find herself waking up – alive – on February 12th. Desperately, she tries to change her fate in Before I Fall.