Groundhog Day (1993)
User ReviewsAdd a Review
Groundhog Day is one that needs little introduction, and I only finally watched it recently on the Feb 2nd anniversary, with the retro showings meaning that it was finally time to catch up with this old classic. We see our lead in a timeless loop, and as this is the deadpan Bill Murray, he is funny and heart breakingly emotive. What we see is our hero stuck in this loop over time (long time) go through the motions and find his true character.
Partnered by Andie McDowall, he is in love with her, but his awkwardness makes it difficult to create a connection with her. He loves her but can he make her love him?
This film is funny, it's beautiful and it's touching. The idea is a comedy & romance version of those old Twilight Zone episodes, and it could easily have gone so horribly wrong. But it didn't, and that is testament to the genius writing, directing and acting of all involved.
A true comedy classic, that I will watch again and again and again, and should have watched long before I just did.
The film is about a weather man named Phil Connors, he is a stuck up, self centered, cruel man who doesn't really care about anyone but himself. It's Groundhog Day...again. And Phil has been assigned to report on the Punxsutawney annual Groundhog Day celebration and festivities. He is less then....enthusiastic about it. Once the celebration is over a big blizzard comes to town and Phil along with his crew are forced to stay in the town. The next morning things start to get weird and crazy as Phil wakes up and finds it's Groundhog Day all over again, and again, and again, and again.
I love the humor in the movie, Bill Murray brings lots of laughs. I love the fact that he has to live the same day all over again for who knows how long? I like how he handles each day, he goes from partying maniac, to suicidal, to selfless, kind, and caring man. In the movie Phil has to learn a lesson, kind of like Ebeneezer Scrooge In A Christmas Carol, except for a different Holiday.
The Story is about a man who never has love in his life because of his attitude towards others. That all changes when he has to live the same day over again, and when he starts to notice a producer. It's the story of a man who has no love in his life, time stops, repeats itself over again, and gives this man a chance (several chances) to makes things right. In the end the selfless, mean spirited man wakes up to find his one true love laying next to him. And time moves forward as it should and the man has the girl, is changed for the good, and the most important part of all he is happy.
Groundhog Day is not only a comedy, it is a story about change and even though how much we really want to stop time, live days over again, and take another chance, it teaches us to live in the moment, look around us and be happy with what we have.
10/10 for Groundhog Day
In the 25 years since this film was released it has found a place in the American psyche. This feel good combination of comedy, fantasy and romance currently ranks #233, five places ahead of Jaws, on the widely used film database IMDb. This popularity has much to do with the film's valuable lessons regarding self-awareness and sincerity, and with the appealing star power of Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell (both are excellent here). Despite its simplicity and awful B-movie quality beginning, the film attains unexpected heights in spite of itself. This mirrors the path taken by the main character as well as the film's 25 year rise in cultural esteem. This was the first time I watched the film. Michael Shannon makes a surprising appearance.
I really like this movie. The story itself is clever and original. To teach a mean-spirited man a lesson by making him live the same day over and over again, it's great. It's a hilarious film with a great moral lesson. The plot is also interesting, I mean, what would you do if it was you? You can literally do anything without consequences, which can be a little scary if you think about it.
Bill Murray is hilarious, without being corny or whatever. He's just natural when he acts, he doesn't overdo things.
I think that's all I can say about this.
Andie MacDowell and Bill Murray portrait two characters whose development and conclusion allude to the various themes of Groundhog Day and, at the end of the day, are the main ingredient in the sucess of the movie's charm.
I love this movie; it's about repetition but it never gets boring when you watch it again. It's fun to try and figure out how many times the film repeats itself, and it's a strong tale of douche-turned-gentleman.
For a movie that's about repeating the same day over and over, the movie itself is one of the most rewatchable movies you'll ever know.
Local weather reporter Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is a condescending, arrogant, sarcastic individual who has been assigned the task to cover a fluff story on Groundhog Day, right in the heart of small town Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania where Punnxsutawney Phil, the groundhog will pop his head out of his burrow, cast his shadow to tell us six more weeks of winter. This doesn't impress Phil who feels like this is insulting to his intelligence. Just as Phil was about to return to Pittsburgh, a blizzard approaches so he ad his crew which includes his producer Rita Hanson (Andie McDowall) and his cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott) to spend a night at a hotel in the area. Only to realize that the next day, it's Groundhog Day all over again and everything that happened yesterday repeats itself again the next day and the day after and so on. Phil is trapped in some kind of vortex will tomorrow never comes.
What really makes the movie "Groundhog Day" work is that underneath the comedy and fantasy plotting is that there's a low- prolific genre of mystery involved as we try to piece the puzzle as to how Phil can get out of this bubble so that tomorrow can come and a new day will happen. While he knows that his every waking moment are the same people dong the same things like yesterday, everybody else surrounding Phil are completely oblivious. And through every repeated day, he always has an advantage. An advantage to go over his day and reconsider his wrong ways and in hopes to change his ways and thoughts and to become a better person.
The perfect individual for this task to be a better character is his co-worker Rita, who has been quite patient towards Phil's demands, quips and general lack of courtesy. As the repeated days go by where everything's planted in terms of routine, he starts to become nicer and friendlier to Rita until one particular Groundhog Day, she finally falls in love with him and a new day begins and the curse is broken.
Though it's primarily a comedy, there are very high levels of thought-provoking factors we can all certainly reflect upon. Like Bill Murray's 1988 movie classic "Scrooged", Murray is playing a similar cranky character going through extraordinary predicaments in order to live through his mistakes and to break through these burdens in order to become a better person. Even though it's a Groundhog Day movie, there is another Christmas movie that has a similar plot as well, "It's a Wonderful Life" where James Stewart's George Bailey stuck in a life where everyone's woeful without him. In "Groundhog Day" Phil discovers that everyone would be happier if he was not involved in their lives.
Directed and co-written by longtime friend of Murray's Harold Ramis, they have collaborated in several films in 1970's, 1980's and like "Stripes" and "Ghostbusters" and though they had a fallout after this movie, it was nice that Murray and Ramis made peace with each other before Ramis' death in 2014. Unlike "Scrooged" which had a more darker, misanthropic edge to its comedy, Groundhog Day" was lighter in tone and had a more greater feeling of optimism. The change of heart was well executed as the story flowed nicely, I did fall off the edge of my chair laughing at the early scenes as Phil was giving the weather report in smarmy, cynical way and cursing at the curse that brought him on journey to redemption.
The film at the time was original in delivery with a well added twist that has morals placed in while it refrains from anything remotely preachy about it. Sometimes we need a refresher course and to comes to terms that in life, we got everything we want and more and to appreciate them while we can. Our time here on Earth is limited, we just have to make the most of it.
Before that, I only saw this film as pretty much a lighthearted romantic comedy. The repetition didn't bother me because slight changes to Phil Conners' (Bill Murray) routine each day kept things moving in a spontaneous manner. The interesting thing is, Murray's character was becoming a better person day by day as he got to know the residents of Punxatawney and they got to know him. Falling in love with Rita (Andie McDowell) was the impetus needed to break the spell of the time loop and was a neat way to close out the story.
And besides, any movie that includes a polka has to be a happy one. The story took place in Punxatawney, PA, so what better tune to get the town revved up than The Pennsylvania Polka!
What's a 'feelgood movie'? A movie that, quite simply, makes you feel good. In that, feel ONLY good. Not a single bad moment. That's a high peak to ascend. 'It's A Wonderful Life' ascends it. As does 'Groundhog Day'. Or at least it comes tantalizingly close.
Like 'It's A Wonderful Life', this, too, is a fantasy film. And like 'It's A Wonderful Life', this film, too, is about goodness. Only, Jimmy Stewart, every so subtly playing George Bailey in the former, had to be SHOWN how good he WAS. Whereas Bill Murray, with a matchingly evocative depiction of Phil Connors in this, learns how good he can BECOME.
'Groundhog Day' is a purely, unabashedly spiritual film. Its premise is one that could easily have fallen flat, or become a basis for pulp kiddie fantasy fare - of an ordinary man getting stuck in a time loop where he wakes up, each day, to find it's the 2nd of February, all over again. Don't be fooled however ... that is merely the backdrop for an intensely, almost Biblically spiritual tale, of a man's transcendence - "transformation" would be too weak a word - from an intensely self-centred, unlikeable "jerk" (as he calls himself at one point), to a being of pure beauty, and goodness unalloyed. It displays how, placed in such an unenviable position, Phil traverses a gamut of emotions - from initial shock and fear, to the purely selfish realization that he can do whatever he wants without caring for the consequences, to ... well, I don't want to reveal too much - let's just say that, at first, he plays the day, and, later, the day plays him.
It's a spectacular, and fittingly understated, performance by Bill. It has often been opined that no other actor could have done the role, and, watching Bill, one does feel so. Andie Macdowell is, however, equally luminous, and provides the halo to Phil's God (as he, again at one point, calls himself). They complement each other perfectly, and, together, tell us a tale which can never be forgotten.
'Groundhog Day' is a cleansing, purifying experience. To call it a fantasy film - as Wikipedia does - is unfair, for it is SOOO much more.
Why I am giving it 9, instead of 10, out of 10. I don't know. But I am. Let's leave it at that.
Bill Murray plays a weatherman who hates his assignment covering a – in his mind- low-brown and pointless celebration in a small American town which has a tradition involving a groundhog (also called 'Phil!') supposedly predicting the weather for the next few months. Murray's done it for years and is totally sick of it, however, when the day ends, a freak snowstrom strands him not just in the town, but also in the day. What follows is quite an accurate account of what might occur should this happen. At first you have confusion and disbelief, followed by the freedom to know everything that's going to happen in the future (or at least for the next twenty-four hours) and finally depression at the realisation that you're never going to live any other life that what's on offer for this day.
Rumour has it that Murray disagreed with the film-makers as to what sort of film this should be. He wanted it as a deep and emotional study of the human condition when presented with such a situation, whereas the director wanted more of a fluffy family (romantic) comedy. From what I can tell both parties seemed to get their way. Yes, this film could be classed as 'fun for all the family.' There's something for everyone to enjoy. It's great fun without ever getting too dark to be difficult to explain to younger viewers. However, it does also grant Murray his wish to a degree as, despite its absurd premise, you could argue that it plays out almost exactly how it would if a human was faced with this 'capture in time.' I watched 'Groundhog Day' when it first came out in the cinema and I'm pleased to say that it's as good today as it ever was. There are plenty of good supporting cast members, my favourite was Murray's long-suffering camera man, but this is Murray's baby. The film sits firmly on his shoulders and he carries it perfectly. Enjoy its numerous imitations, but this will always be the original and best. If only the same could be said about the 2016 'Ghostbusters!' (meow!)
Directed by Harold Ramis
Starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.
Plot Overview: Phil (Bill Murray), a weatherman, is out to cover the annual emergence of the groundhog from its hole. He gets caught in a blizzard that he didn't predict and finds himself trapped in a time warp. He is doomed to relive the same day over and over again until he gets it right.
The one thing I knew about this film going into it was the premise. I knew nothing else about it - who the starred in it, who directed it, the names of characters; nothing. Thanks to this lack of knowledge, I thankfully had no expectations either way towards the film. I think that worked towards the film's favour. Let me say this, I do recommend this movie and like it quite a bit but I think I would have been extremely disappointed if I had even the slightest expectations. So if you haven't seen the film, I recommend it just don't go in expecting greatness or mediocrity.
Movies like this are, to me, concept movies. They thrive of their unique and interesting concept or gimmick and then use that as a crutch. That is why the concept for this movie is a great one and the reason it has inspired works such as All You Need Is Kill(Edge of Tomorrow). The story surrounding this idea is also pretty decent. We follow our protagonist through possibly decades worth of the same day, with a new focus every once and a while. We see him utilise this gift/curse to learn new skills and try to perfect the day. This is the most interesting part of the film for me. The concept of achieving a perfect day. Reliving a day over and over and over again for eternity until you complete it with no error or flaw is fascinating.
Bill Murray is great as Phil and succeeds spectacularly at showing the growth of his character. Andie MacDowel was pretty weak as Rita for me and I didn't buy anything she did or said. I did, however, buy into the romance between the two slowly building over the course of a possibly decade. Even if it did feel slightly manipulative, I did definitely see the connection building over the course of the the film.
The cinematography and editing for the film is perfectly passable and looks fine.
The movie was pretty funny and it's on the upper half of comedies that I've seen. The dramatic moments also work pretty well and are effectively utilised for full emotional impact. If I had one main flaw with the film, it is the very boring and uninteresting first 20 minutes. I'll make an estimate and say the film begins to get good around the point he sees the benefits of this gift/curse.
Honestly, I will recommend you see this movie just don't expect the second coming of Christ. I'll rate this film 7 Perfect Days out of 10.