Groundhog Day Reviews
A weatherman finds himself living the same day, Groundhog Day, over and over again. He is the only one who seems to know that it is happening. After he adjusts to it, he tries different things such as finding a love interest, meeting new people, doing illegal activities, helping out people, and trying to figure out how to stop it from going on.
Instances he encounters on that day which keeps on getting repeated include: meeting a friendly former classmate who is trying to sell him insurance, doing a news report on the event of the "Groundhog Day" which he finds to be stupid and pointless, and experiencing a snow blizzard which traps him in a town. He is also very rude to his co-workers: Rita and Larry. He dislikes his job, his colleagues, and himself most of all.
However, he learns that in order for the event to stop: he may have to change his normal way of life. Over the course of the days, he discovers his love for Rita and his desire to be with her. He also learns to be more kind to other people and he gets to know and help out people around town that he wouldn't have been introduced to had the events in the film had never have taken place. The event makes him learn to love himself and others. It's a very interesting idea a film could use for representing a change in a characters personality.
Another great thing in the film is that it leaves the reason for the day's constant repetition ambiguous. It leaves it up to the viewer to decide why that happened to him. It makes the viewer wonder if there was an entity or something else that was doing this to him in hopes of having him change his life and personality around. I can understand why someone wouldn't like this, but I didn't mind it because it gave the film sort of an alien or other-worldly feel to it. That's not to say that the movie didn't have one to begin with, but the ambiguity increased it.
Phil's character development in the movie is very convincing and realistic because we can easily believe that the situation would make him react the way he does. There are dark periods in the film when he endangers his life, does illegal activities, and tries to commit suicide. There are also reckless periods in the film when he tries weird and foolish things he wouldn't normally try. Finally, there are some happy periods in the film when he tries to improve on his life and personality. It makes sense that he would try different things because since he doesn't know anything about the situation: There is no way for him to know how to stop it from happening and whether or not he's supposed to do something. Since he loves Rita, the only way he can impress her is by actually changing instead of faking it. At one point in the movie, Rita says that egocentricity is one of his "defining characteristics". He doesn't stop being egocentric at the end. He just learns to use it in a positive direction.
One of the other great things about this film is Bill Murray's terrific acting. I can't think of any actor who would've performed the role better than Bill Murray did. He proved to us that he's not only able to show dramatic depth, but he is also able to combine a comedic and serious side all into the same character. I think that his role here is his best performance yet.
The only thing I didn't like about it is that I wished it was funnier. Of course, there were only a couple points in the film when it made me laugh. However, even the jokes that I did laugh at weren't super creative or that well-written. However, this is my only complaint for the film and nothing else really bugged me about it.
In conclusion, this could've just been a good movie, but the fantastic choice of turning it into a character study makes it something special. His character development was interesting and convincing and it was handled very well in the movie. The feeling of ambiguity and Bill Murray's incredible acting also helped to carry this movie. Even though it was light on comedy, this is still an amazing comedy film which ranks up there with some of the very best of the genre.
Watched at Eau Claire with Clay (Flashback Film Fest), February 4, 2017
A smart story that's both funny and sweet.