My Filmviews

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Groundhog Day (1993)

There are movies which I will watch on TV if I just happen to see it playing (although I actually hate to watch movies on cable because of all the commercial breaks). Coming to America is one of those movies and Groundhog Day is another one. Bill Murray is weather man Phil who, together with his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott), travels to the little village of Punxsutawney to report on Groundhog Day, the day on which a groundhog does a prediction on how long the winter will last.

Everything seems like routine job and Phil heads back home. They find out quickly they won’t be able to make it because of blizzard and are forced to return to Punxsutawney. It will be Phil’s longest day.

The reason for this long day is that he wakes up on the same day each day. The first day he is very surprised by it and does not believe it, but after it happens more he realises it’s impossible to escape from this repeating day. He decides to do a lot of things he always wanted. First these are just simple things like getting some information from a woman so that he can get her home the next day, but as more days pass he start acting more extreme. He robs a money truck and after he becomes depressed because of it all he decides to kill himself in each way he can think of.

Groundhog Day is a smart comedy that asks the question what you would do if your choices didn’t have any permanent results. You could be very philosophical about this movie and could also make comparisons to religion (is he in hell?).
It becomes so difficult to escape this day that Phil starts to believe he’s God as he can anything about anyone and knows what is about to happen.
Would you want it to happen to you? The thing I like about this movie is that it is never explained what has caused the day to repeat. Apparently there was a version of the script where it was caused by a curse from an old ex-girlfriend, but I’m glad they didn’t use it as it would really have spoiled the way the movie feels.

A couple of years there was also a TV show which had kind of the same setup. It was called Daybreak and was about a detective that woke up on the same day and had to solve some case. It was also a good show, but didn’t manage to be as good as this movie (although it is hard to compare as it was more serious).
I do think that it’s worth watching, as it also a one season show.

Groundhog Day is one of my favorite Bill Murray films (after Lost in Translation) and there isn’t another actor that I could imagine playing that role. Andie MacDowell (who never seems to get older) plays his love interest and although it’s not a very taxing role she’s plays it convincingly.

Groundhog is a wonderful feel good movie which I’ve seen many times, but never bores me. It’s a true classic which has earned its place in the IMDB top 250.

Score: 10

Interested in other movies which I’ve awarded a 10?
A complete list can be found here.

  • The Blog of Big Ideas says:

    I’m glad that you feel so strongly about this film too. It’s a surprisingly heartfelt and layered script that asks many questions about existence and how to live life to the fullest.
    Bill Murray is exceptional in the role. Great stuff.

    Niels

    January 29, 2012 at 4:12 am
    • Nostra says:

      Yeah, this is so much more than a simple comedy and I liked the fact it is never explained what caused it all.

      January 30, 2012 at 10:46 am
  • captiveviscera says:

    I first saw this film during its initial release, and was perhaps too young to truly appreciate it. I saw it again about a year ago, and was surprised by the cleverness and insight of the story. You can’t always change your circumstances, but we always have the power to choose how we will make use of our time. A potent message, but delivered with such an inspiring lightness of touch.

    February 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm
    • Nostra says:

      I don’t think I did and first caught it on VHS. It’s been one I’ve revisit regularly.

      February 14, 2012 at 9:54 am

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