Review and Original Illustration by Adam Hyatt
What would you do with eternity?
Groundhog Day follows the story of a weatherman who believes himself to be better than others around him. But he’s pretty much a jerk. Phil, played beautifully by Bill Murray, is assigned to do a news report on the biggest of events…a town’s Groundhog Day ceremony complete with their own groundhog. The groundhog’s name just also happens to be Phil and, because it’s a small town, Phil is bombarded with the jokes of “hey that’s the groundhogs name! How many weeks of winter? Huh Phil, HUH!!!!!”
Accompanying him on this story is a cameraman, Larry (Chris Elliott) and a producer, Rita (played wonderfully by Andie MacDowell.) Upon arrival, Phil complains how this event is beneath his “talent” and grudgingly reports the story. The groundhog predicts more winter, while earlier in the film Phil says that a storm heading for the town would pass. Cementing what we all have known for ages, Phil (the animal) proves that groundhogs can and do predict weather.
Upon waking up at 6 a.m. the next morning, it appears to be Groundhog Day again. The radio chimes in with the same song as well as the same banter from the radio hosts. This seems to be a kind of joke to Phil (the human) in the morning, but as the day progresses, he begins to think he’s going mad. Phil runs into the same people, they say the same things and the groundhog’s prediction is also the same. Everyday after that is Groundhog Day…living in a constant loop. Nothing Phil (the man) does has any repercussions and any impact he has on a person is simply reset at 6 a.m. This reoccurring nightmare to him eventually causes him to lose hope and he kills himself in a car crash…but sure enough he wakes up again…to the same Sonny and Cher song.
This film is beautiful from beginning to end, the viewer goes on a crazy ride with Phil (the man). We feel his frustration from waking up to the same day over and over again: his desperation at living the same day over and over again, his eventual myriad of suicides, his depression after waking alone after a wonderful night with Rita.
There is also a truly touching scene where Phil realizes a homeless man passes away on this record skip of a day. He tries to save the man’s life countless times and treats him to meals to make his last day better. Phil changes a great deal over the film, going from memorizing a woman’s likes so that he can easily sleep with her to mastering the piano and saving a kid who falls from a tree at the same time each day. Murray portrays this slow transition from a man who cares only of himself, to someone who goes to extremes to make things better.
Groundhog Day is a joy to watch over and over again, I get the same feeling watching it the 50th time as I did the first time.
I give groundhog day 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5 out of 5…stars.