Anthony's Film Review

Groundhog Day (1993)

This comedy takes an unusual premise and delivers something funny and thoughtful...

If you had the opportunity to relive a particular holiday over and over again, which one would it be? Would it be Christmas so that you can have family, food, and gifts every day? Would it be Thanksgiving, allowing you to eat merrily on a daily basis? Of course, you don't have to answer this question, but it is the premise for the 1993 film Groundhog Day. February 2nd is a holiday, and given its legend about six more weeks of winter if the groundhog doesn't see its shadow, it's an appropriate day for a movie that experiments with time.

This is precisely what happens to Bill Murray as TV weather reporter Phil Conners. He goes with his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliot) to Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the Groundhog Day festivities. On February 2nd, he wakes up at 6:00 a.m., washes his face at the sink as he hears an announcement about the Groundhog Day festivities, meets a few people on the way there, steps into a puddle, and does his report. Unfortunately, due to a blizzard, they cannot leave town, so they have to stick around. Due to a time warp that the movie never explains (and doesn't really need to, anyway), these same events occur the next day.

Basically, Phil finds himself in a loop where Groundhog Day repeats itself. As time passes, he figures out the rules of this bizarre world. The same events do repeat themselves, but he can react differently and change the way his day goes. When the day is over, the previous day's events are completely erased. Finally, nobody else can recall the previous days, but Phil himself can remember everything he has done on each Groundhog Day.

For a while, the movie is a comedy about the funny things Phil can do with this time warp. He can do harmful things to himself and wake up the next morning as if nothing ever happened. Unfortunately, if good things happen, they also disappear at 6:00 a.m. the next day. Perhaps my favorite moments are those that involve using the time warp to correct one's mistakes. When Phil goes on a date with Rita and says something he regrets, he waits until the next Groundhog Day to repeat everything he did up until that faux pas and then says what he should have said. It's funny because it's like watching multiple outtakes of the same movie.

Later, it becomes clear what the purpose of the movie is: teach a lesson or two. The story is written in a way that provides multiple life lessons. You may take away something from this movie different from what the next person takes away. I'll mention the lesson that stood out the most for me. It's that Groundhog Day represents the monotony and repetitiveness of life, and one can find happiness and excitement only if he or she is proactive and does things differently. Again, you may consider this or something else to be the moral of the story.

In any event, Groundhog Day is a film that can appeal to people for different reasons. It is funny, thoughtful, and original, all because of a groundhog altering our sense of time.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Groundhog Day, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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