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Groundhog Day

November 3, 2010

855. Groundhog Day
Directed by Harold Ramis
USA, 1993
IMDB | allmovie

Reviewed by Ally
Second viewing




Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.

~ Phil Connors, Groundhog Day


Weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is sent to the small town of Punxatawney to cover their annual Groundhog Day festival on February 2nd. His selfishness and his evident disdain for the town and its customs alienates his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott).

When Phil wakes up the next morning, he experiences a strange sense of déjà vu; it’s February 2nd again. Caught in a time loop, Phil initially indulges in consequence-free hedonism but eventually embarks on self-improvement.

Essential Scene:

Phil has been living the same day long enough to know everything and everyone in Punxatawney inside-out. He tries to prove this to Rita by taking her around the diner introducing people in more detail than he should rightly know. There’s a couple due to get married but the girl is having second thoughts, a waitress who dreams of seeing Paris and a waiter who is secretly gay. Rita is incredulous.

Rita: Is this some kind of trick?

Phil: Well maybe the real God uses tricks. Maybe he’s not omnipotent, maybe he’s just been around so long he knows everything.

Rita: Well OK, who’s that?

Phil: This is Tom, he worked in the coal mine till they closed it down.

Rita: And her?

Phil: Sal, she came over here from Ireland when she was a baby. She lived in Erie most of her life.

Sal: He’s right.

Rita: And her?

Phil: Nancy, she works in the dress shop and makes noises like a chipmunk when she gets real excited.

He then proceeds to correctly “predict” when a waiter drops a tray. Rita is disturbed. She sits Phil down at a table and asks if he knows her too.

Phil: I know all about you. You like producing but you’re hoping for more than Channel 9 Pittsburgh.

Rita: Well, everyone knows that!

Phil: You like boats but not the ocean. You go to a lake in the summer with your family up in the mountains. There’s a long wooden dock and a boathouse with boards missing from the roof, and a place you used to crawl underneath to be alone. You’re a sucker for French poetry and rhinestones. You’re very generous. You’re kind to strangers and children, and when you stand in the snow you look like an angel.

Rita: How are you doing this?

Phil: I told you. I wake up every day, right here, right in Punxatawney, and it’s always February 2nd, and there’s nothing I can do about it.


Groundhog Day is more than just an entertaining film. It’s also a fascinating philosophical concept: What would you do with infinite, consequence-free opportunities to relive the same day? After phases of debauchery and depression, Phil develops himself mentally and spiritually. He grows to care for Punxatawney and everyone in it. He becomes someone capable of love and deserving of being loved in return.

Unfortunately the woman he loves is played by Andie MacDowell (more like Blandie MacDowell), the one weak link in the cast. Thankfully the rest of the film is strong enough to cope — Bill Murray is especially funny and surprisingly touching. Overall it’s a great film, one which I can happily say I will watch again. And again. And again. And again…

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