Groundhog Day (1993) Review

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In 2006, The National Film Preservation Board selected Groundhog Day as a film to be preserved in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, along with films such as: 12 Angry Men and The Godfather. The Board determined Groundhog Day met the criteria of being a film that is, “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Okay campers, rise and shine and don’t forget your booties, because it’s time to delve into one of the most original films in recent years.

As is the case with all of my reviews: SPOILER ALERT!

The film is centered on the Ego-Centric and very sarcastic weather man, Phil Connors (Bill Murray) and his escapade to cover the annual Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He is accompanied by his camera man, Larry (Chris Elliot) and producer, Rita Hanson (Andie MacDowell). The news crew arrives to the small town the day before the event, so they can check into their designated hotels.

Connors is awoken at 6:00 in the morning, by his radio alarm, which is set to the tune of I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher. When arriving to the event for coverage, Phil comes off as very disinterested and moody. He is sarcastic with the bed & breakfast staff, completely ignores and blows off an enthusiastic insurance salesman that he went to high school with and blatantly hits on Rita in a vile manner asking, “You sleep okay without me, or did you toss and turn?”

Each of these interactions are brilliant depictions of Connors’ character. After getting snowed in, Connors is forced to stay in Punxsutawney. He wakes up the next morning and to his surprise nothing has changed! In the most unusual case of Déjà vu depicted in cinema, Phil Connors awakes to the same day he just lived through, February 2nd – Groundhog Day.

Completely bewildered by the event, Phil has no choice, but to play along with this extreme case of Déjà vu; that is until he wakes up again to I Got You Babe the following morning and discovers he’s stuck in a sort of…time loop. Phil, now aware of the fact that there is no tomorrow and thus no consequences for his actions decides to capitalize on the opportunity and actually becomes more ego-centric than he originally was.

He eats what he wants, steals money and even lies to the locals to hook-up with them. It is through these time loops, however that the film showcases one of its strongest elements, the continuity! The script supervisors who worked on this film did a fantastic job on ensuring that there is a consistency on each of the many Groundhog Days. The actors and props were all placed in the exact same starting and ending points throughout the film. If they did mess up, I never noticed and it certainly doesn’t take you out of the scene. In a movie with as many re-shoots as Groundhog Day, organization and film continuity must have been huge hurdles to jump over; the crew not only jumped, they flew.

Progressing through the story, Connors utilizes many days to learn about Rita, so that he can conspire the perfect date and sleep with her. Alas, none of his dates are successful, because at the end of the day, (or days really…) Phil is self-motivated and Rita can see right through that.

Connors then becomes very depressed and even tries to kill himself. Each suicide, just results in him waking up to his 6:00 alarm. Eventually, Phil decides to use his time to take up some new hobbies and help out the Punxsutawney locals. Sure, they’ll just reset the next day, but at least Phil is trying to make a difference.

This is what makes the film so great, its theme. Groundhog Day is all about becoming a better person. It wasn’t the storm keeping Phil in Punxsutawney, it was Phil! It is his transformation from an ego-centric, pompous, jerk to a generous and selfless citizen that breaks the time loop and ultimately wins him the girl. It is this passage of character that makes this film praised, not just by those in the industry, but religious leaders as well!

The film, Groundhog Day is one of the best depictions of the Catholic rite of passage called, purgatory. Groundhog Day is also praised in the Buddhist community for being a contemporary work that properly depicts the notion of spiritual transcendence.

This movie is considered by many to be “the most spiritual film of all time.” Regardless of whether you are a film fanatic, a religious enthusiast, or someone that just stumbled upon this review, I not only recommend Groundhog Day, but I give it a 5 out of 5!
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I don't know, the more I think about it, the more I think Groundhog Day is a great comedy. Handles the time loop scenario extremely well and Bill Murray is fantastic, I think the idea could have easily gone wrong. I want to watch it again.
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Sorry Harmonica.......I got to stay here.
I don't know, the more I think about it, the more I think Groundhog Day is a great comedy. Handles the time loop scenario extremely well and Bill Murray is fantastic, I think the idea could have easily gone wrong. I want to watch it again.
You can, but only on a different day.
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Under-the-radar Movie Awesomeness.
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