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  • by David C. Terr

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    groundhog day movie posterTitle: Groundhog Day

    Director: Harold Ramis

    Starring: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brian Doyle-Murray

    Release Date: Feb. 12, 1993

    Running Time: 101 min

    Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

     

    Commentary
    Groundhog Day is an amusing tale of a man who experiences the same day (Groundhog Day) repeatedly, with apparently no escape. He goes back and forth between thinking of this as a curse and a blessing. It's a very unusual but quite intriguing premise. The acting is quite good, especially by Bill Murray, who even does a bit of Belushi-style comedy.

    Plot Summary
    Phil Connors (Murray) is an unhappy news reporter who's sent out with his crew to the small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the annual Grounhog Day festivities. A blizzard develops and the crew gets snowed in for one night.

    The next morning, much to Phil's surprise, he wakes up again on Grounhog Day, with everyone else repeating the same actions as the previous day. This occurs day after day after day.

    After a few days, Phil realizes that he can get away with just about whatever he wants since no one but him will remember what happened the following day. He ends up robbing a bank and seducing a beautiful woman, with no longterm consequences. He finds he's unable to seduce his friend Rita (MacDowell) though, no matter how hard he tries.

    After awhile he gets tired of having the same day repeating, so he commits suicide, but he still wakes up the next morning at 6AM as he had every other time. He attempts suicide six more times, still to no effect. Eventually he confides his frustration to Rita, who tells him to try to make the most of his predicament by helping others. He takes her advice, helping as many people in need as he can, learning to play the piano, speak fluent French, and make ice sculptures. Eventually, after concluding the day with a big festivity hosted by him, he wakes up on February 3.

    Philosophy
    Phil's repeated life is analogous to the Greek myth of Sisyphus, who's doomed to repeatedly roll a stone up a mountain only to watch it roll back down again. However, unlike Sisyphus, Phil is able to play with the variables and explore different outcomes, though many of these outcomes seem to repeat in any case. Eventually he breaks the cycle by getting to know the town, help those in need, and improve himself. By the time he succeeds, he's willing to settle down with Rita in Punxsutawney in any case!

    Movie Clips

    Here's the original trailer.

     

    Here's a clip of Phil playing music on his last day.

     


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