Groundhog Day – Review

by Bret W.

Bill Murray leads a wonderful cast in a story about one man’s kharmic overhaul.  It’s a strange tale, straight from the Twilight Zone, but it’s one that makes the audience sympathize with a man whom they originally despised from the onset of the film.  Groundhog Day is the kind of film that can make a person reevaluate his or her position in this life and what they can do to change.

Phil Connors is the weatherman from a Pittsburgh TV station sent to Punxsutawny, PA to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities.  He’s disillusioned with his worth and disgusted that he should be sent on such a lowly task, one that he despises doing each year.  He dislikes the town and its tradition, and treats everyone he meets with the same degree of acidity and sarcasm, including his producer and cameraman.  He is relieved when finally, the day’s shoot is done and he can return to the cold comfort of Pittsburgh.  However, it is only temporary relief, as an unexpected blizzard snows them in and he his forced to spend the night in Punxsutawny again.

When he awakens in the morning, he finds that it is still February 2nd, and that he has to go through the day all over again.  Once again he is snowed in, and once again he has to spend the night.  Again, when he awakens he finds that it is still February 2nd.  Only he seems to be reliving this day, and all the other people of Punxsutawny seem oblivious to the repeating days.

The reliving of every day first makes him angry and obstinate, then suicidal and anguished.  Finally, he decides to find out why his life is stuck in this day, and sets out to become a better person, more well liked and admired, and more importantly, loved by the female producer that he once fell in love with but never approached.

Groundhog Day is at all times funny, fully charged and mysterious, at once touching and abrasive, and a very poignant look on life and what we make of it.  Phil is given one day to live over and over until his life is set straight.  How, we may ask, can we change our entire lives in one day?  The answer is simply, we can’t, unless we are allowed to live that day repetitively until we get it right.  Phil is given that opportunity, and finally makes the most of it.

The story is a social commentary which provides hope for the future.  It says, no matter how screwed up your life may be, there’s always a chance to change if you allow it to happen, and if you want it bad enough.  It’s an inspirational film that leaves the viewer feeling warm and generally good about life.  Watch it for a pick-me-up when you’re feeling down.  It’s a good film full of belly-laugh humor and the usual excellent comedic performance by Bill Murray, with great supporting work done by Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliot, as well as the rest of the cast.

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