Groundhog Day

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Groundhog Day is a comedy film starring Bill Murray as Phil Connors: an arrogant, self-centered weather forecaster trapped in a time loop in a small town, forcing him to keep reliving February 2 (the U.S. holiday Groundhog Day).

His story begins as he's assigned a new (and very pretty) producer, played by Andie MacDowell, who chooses him to cover the Groundhog Day festival in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois).

Responses to his existential quandary

At first, he's disbelieving. Next, he lapses (further, if one can believe it) into selfish behavior, learning everything he can about each person he meets so he can exploit them for his own benefit. He seduces a girl, robs an armored car, overeats (with no risk of getting fat).

Then he tires of the sameness and tries to kill himself, a ploy which works but doesn't work. Not even death ends the cycle, because he always wakes up "the next day" at 6:00 A.M. to the irritating strains of Sonny and Cher singing "I've Got You, Babe" on his clock radio.

Something (or Someone?) has got him. What can he possibly do?

Reflections on eternity

Many have speculated on how long the director and screenwriter have Phil live the same day. Consider that he learns to play classical and jazz piano, as well as ice-sculpting, so we're probably talking decades, not years.

Commentary

  • "It's about doing things in the moment to make things better, instead of making things worse." (from the DVD extras)
  • Romance: "He tries to look like a guy in love."
  • Harold Ramis: "He stops worrying about himself, and starts living a life of service."

Director Harold Ramis says he got comments from all sorts of religious people saying that the movie encapsulated their philosophy: Buddhists, a yogi, Jesuits, fundamentalist Christians.

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