21 April 2012 11:44 AM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

The primary reason why "Groundhog Day" works (besides the casting, pacing, easygoing charm and humor) is that the little town of Punxsutawney is the physical embodiment of what we all feel occasionally: a startling inability, even for a moment, to tell one day from the next. Call it a forced sense of deja vu, it's what Seongjun (Jun-Sang Yu), the lead of Hong Sang-soo's patient and trying "The Day He Arrives" is experiencing.

Seongjun, a film director who's uneasily transitioned to teaching, is listless in a way that seems to impact not only his everyday, but also that of his friends and lovers. In the course of 79 minutes, Hong Sang-soo's film lays out several days (but how many?) starting with Seongjun's visit to Seoul. The character keeps running into the same people, going out for drinks at the same place and romancing women in the same way. Intentional? Naturally, but »

- Mark Zhuravsky

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