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Groundhog Day (1993)
Starring: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell & Chris Elliott
Directed by: Harold Ramis
**FILM ONLY REVIEW**
Groundhog Day tells the story of selfish weatherman, Phil Connors (played perfectly by Bill Murray) who is given the assignment to travel to the town of Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania, to cover the Groundhog Day celebrations of February 2nd. The town's superstitious ritual is to summon Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog, out of his hole and depending on his reaction, this will decide whether there an early spring or not. Accompanying Phil (the weatherman, not the Groundhog!) is his cameraman, Larry (Chris Elliott) and news producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) who get frustrated by Phil's ego and his downbeat mood. After a rather dour day, the trio find themselves trapped in a blizzard and forced to stay overnight. However, when Phil wakes up, he relives the events of the previous day...again and again and again.
This film has had a massive cultural impact, coining the phrase 'Groundhog Day' to describe being trapped in a time loop and having to repeat the same tasks repeatedly. It also shone a huge spotlight on middle-america's crazy traditions, such as the eponymous Groundhog Day. It frequently tops lists of the 'Greatest Time Travel movies' and has been recognised as one of Bill Murray's finest movies, outside of Ghostbusters.
Bill Murray's performance is the core of the movie, as we are with him throughout the whole journey, experiencing the same events and reactions of the townspeople as they are fated to repeat their days. Murray's gradual change of personality from Scrooge to Nice Guy feels natural and not forced, as he learns life lessons from the people he interacts with. For a comedy, there's a lot of heavy issues and drama here - Phil considers (and commits) suicide several times when he is at his utmost despair, and while these are played for laughs (of a sort), there is a definite feeling of sadness as he hits rock bottom.
The supporting casts play their parts well, although for the majority of the film they are mainly foils to Murray's punchlines or have to react to his extreme behaviour. Rita, a pre-Four Weddings Andie MacDowell, has a lot more to work with and one of the strongest aspects of the films is the chemistry between Phil and Rita as they begin the day as bickering rivals and gradually become something more. It's such an unusual narrative device to see the constant 'do-overs' that Phil uses as he abuses his time travel curse to romance Rita, learning from each mistake and slapped face. Most of the humour comes from the way he can screw up a social situation, learn from it and then we see him retrace his steps.
It does get a bit sickly sweet towards the end after Phil loses his emotional defences and starts to genuinely help the townsfolk, as opposed to using them for his own ends, but I think it really works. The final sequences where it all comes together at the party and we see the results of all of Phil's plans and plotting on Rita works perfectly and this bizarre love story seems realistic from both points of view.
There's not much to complain about here - the script manages to be smart, funny and tells the story without getting bogged down in minutiae - we don't need to understand how the time loop works, as we're focused on the characters and their relationships. If you like light-hearted romantic comedies with a little something out of the ordinary then this is the perfect film for a cosy Friday night.
It's available on DVD & Blu-Ray editions and can be watched on-demand through LoveFilm.com
Groundhog day was a film that I'd always heard a lot about, it had been on TV the odd time and it seemed to be referenced a lot in other films and TV shows. In addition, it seems like one of those films that just about everyone has seen and has an opinion on, like Love Actually or Titanic so it seemed like time to watch it when it was on Channel 5 last week.
It seems to be a bit of a mix of genres, it is comedy and romance yet not your typical predictable romantic comedy because of the element of fantasy almost because it isn't really something that could definitely realistically happen. A cynical weatherman heads to a sleepy town for his traditional annual report upon the Ground hog day weather festival, along with his cameraman Larry and the new producer of the show Rita. We see that he doesn't really believe in what he is doing, and is often quite arrogant and cold to people. However he gets a shock when he wakes up the next day and its groundhog day all over again. This constantly happens and he goes through many phases when he realises this constantly trying to stop it; being as reckless as possible with crashing cars and going to jail, many suicide attempts. Will he ever get out of this cycle or will he constantly wake up to Groundhog Day?
I don't think this particularly lived up to its buzz, but thats not to say that it was very bad either; it was just pretty much okay and an alright way to spend an afternoon but I won't be buying it on DVD anytime soon as I think once was enough for me. I did think however that it was a fresh take on the chick flick because it did still have some romance but there was a bit of a supernatural element to it that would make it appeal to a wider audience, in addition to this the relationship wasn't focused on relatively that much yet it did still have its really nice moments and it certainly had some good character development. I particularly liked the end but some bits of the film did drag on a bit much, this may have been because of its repetitive nature.
What would you do if you lived the same day over and over again without consequences?
This is the premise of Groundhog Day staring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott. Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is a weatherman for a TV station. He is tasked to go to Punxsutawney to report on the Groundhog Day Festival, something he really does not relish at all.
Phil is somewhat of a creep, self absorbed and a selfish guy and he is not happy about being in a backwater town reporting on the local celebrity 'rat'. Unfortunately for him a storm blows in and he is forced to stay the night in a local hotel and this is where things take off. Phil starts living the same day over and over again, and as he comes to realise this he goes through many types of emotions, including suicide.
The comedy comes from Phil realising that he cannot die (not for the want of trying) and eventually comes to really enjoy living over and over in a consequence free world. I love the different ways he deals with an old friend who he wants nothing to do with.
After exploring what must be an incalculable number of different scenarios, including the many ways he tries to save a tramp, he comes to realise that although there can be many variations in life, certain things can't be changed no matter what you do.
This spurs him on to better himself and this is where the film is surprisingly warm and deep. His interactions with Rita (Andie MacDowell) are both very funny and heartfelt as both characters come to realise that there is more to each other than they thought.
According to the Director, Phil lives the same day over for 10 years, and to be honest I was sad that it had to end. If I were to live the same day over I would make sure I had this film in my collection as I would never get bored of it.
When TV weatherman Phil Collins (Bill Murray) is sent to a small town where a groundhog predicts the weather every day, he soon finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. As each day progresses really badly, he finds himself constantly waking up to the same alarm clock at the same time, with the characters saying the same thing over and over again. Pretty soon, he tries to woo his producer (Andie MacDowell) to try and make the day end.
This is a very strange film, and not really one that I liked the plot of, to be honest. I thought that Bill Murray's deadpan delivery was perfectly suited to the cycnical Collins, and he was brilliant in the film, but in terms of acting, this is probably the only great spot. Everyone else is rather average as far I was concerned, and leading lady Andie MacDowell is a bit drab. I did like the way Collins anticipated the dialogue he was walking into after a while, and it was quite funny in many places, but I just found it a bit weird.
It's the sort of film you could easily put on in the background and not have to pay too much attention to, and as long as you're listening through most of it, you'll get the gist. You could even miss bits in the middle and still follow it, as all that really happens is that Collins constantly tries to learn from the errors of his ways, as he makes mistake after mistake and tries to rectify it the next day. The romance element of this is the main thing he aims to change, as he keeps making selfish mistakes, and I suppose in a way the film is trying to drop a subtle message of not being cynical and selfish, to try and give the other person in your relationship what they want. It's about truly loving someone else.
Okay, maybe I'm being a bit harsh. There are moments of genius in the film, and the concept is very good. However, I found that not all of it was handled with as much skill as Murray usually manages in his films. With fellow Ghostbuster Harold Ramis behind the camera as well, I felt it could have flowed a lot more, but much like films such as 50 First Dates and Vantage Point, I thought the recurring elements were overused. I would still happily watch this, and I do recommend it, if only for just how good Murray can be at points, but as far as its general reviews go, I wasn't overly impressed. It's a decent film, sure, but nothing special for me.
Groundhog Day dates somewhat in its visual appearance, with hairstyles, surroundings and clothing showing that this is an early 90s film, and wouldn't have been out of place in the 80s either. The film is available on DVD for £1.93 at the moment, which is a very good price. It's worth a watch, but I did find they overdid the repetition somewhat, and it's not the sort of film I get excited about watching.
Groundhog Day is a pretty funny Bill Murray comedy that is well worth a viewing. Murray plays a TV weatherman called Phil Collins who along with his producor Rita, played by Andie McDowell are sent to a small town to cover an annual event where a groundhog predicts the weather, one of those strange local interest news items that you see all the time when they get someone who is one short of a six pack onto TV.
After the event when Phil wakes up he finds out that it is once again Groundhog Day and as such he finds himself in a permanent time loop reliving the same day all over. This makes for some funny situational comedy as he relises his actions will have no consequence however as he tries to romance Rita he makes no headway as she remembers nothing from the previous day either.
Murray is excellent in the role with his hangdog expression he plays the grumpy weatherman to a tea. He is well supported by McDowell as his love interest.
There is a good blend of sharop dialogue in this film with some great situational comedy and I certainly found myself laughing and smiling a lot. It is a clever movie with an intelligent script and quite innovative, the premise was sort of ripped off in the movie 50 First Dates by Adam Sandler and that film is not a patch on this one.
Certainly a good comedy and one I would certainly recommend seeing.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to repeat the same day over and over again and no matter what you did that day kept repeating itself over and over again. Sounds like fun, but in the end I'd say it would drag quite a bit, especially the day you were re-living was a terrible day for you.
Well this delightful romantic comedy starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, originally released in 1993 does just that, placing Phil Connors played by Murray in a nightmare town and repeating the same awful day over and over no matter what actions he takes. Plus the day always ends in different ways with different variations.
Phil Connors is the miserable weatherman, assigned by his TV station to cover the local Groundhog Day ceremony in the little town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Together with Rita played by Andie MacDowell and his TV crew he is forced to cover this event much to his annoyance for the fourth year in a row. The ceremony is to do with the start of winter and is held annually
Unfortunately he is forced to stay in Punxsutawney by the approach of a bad blizzard and then the fun begins. He wakes up at 6am and soon discovers that this the same day he has just experienced when the same things start happening. To make matters worse Phil can remember everyone even though they can't remember him.
No matter what he tries, including resorting to killing himself several times he can't get out of this cycle and keeps waking up and living the same day again and again. The film is brilliant and funny with the many varying characters and Bill Murray's increasing frustrations.
As time goes on Phil realises that he needs to do something different to get out of this and starts to try and change. The film then focuses on Bill Murray's transformation from grumpy weatherman into kind, considerate human being who cares for people.
What makes this film interesting and great is that the plot sounds simple enough but there are so many sub plots and also watching Bill Murray re-enter the human race by being a decent human being is fascinating. He takes all the information gathered from each day and uses this to help others in his ultimate mission to be with Rita eventually.
Will he ever escape this day? You'll have to find out
There is real moral to this romantic comedy and hidden depths and it's great as you wonder what you would do in the same situation. Highly recommended as light-hearted fun and some great moments
Released in 1993, Groundhog Day stars Bill Murray as bitter and self-centred weatherman Phil, who has been sent out on an assignment with his producer Rita (Andie Macdowall) and an accompanying cameraman by the name of Larry (Chris Elliott) to report on Groundhog Day in a remote town in Pennsylvania, a festival in which the locals celebrate the emergance of a groundhog from its borrow, thus signifying the beginning of spring.
Phil is bemused to discover however that his day just repeats over and over seemingly endlessly, and trapped in this endlessly self-perpetuating timeline he falls in love with Rita and tries to woo her, failing miserably at first and plunging into suicidal despair, genearlly being horrible to everyone and trying repeatedly to kill himself only to wake up bright and early at 6am on the very same day that he last woke up on. The film is darkly humourous, with some great, sarcastic fdialoge and some amusing scenes such as the one in which Phil kidnaps the groundhof, hijacks a pickup truck and drives the pair of them off a big cliff, the truck exploding in a giant plume of smoke in the valley below.
Bill Murray is perfectly cast as Phil, what with his trademark miserable and deadpan air, and he plays his character very well, in a way that is both engaging and consistently entertaining. Phil eventually realises that he must change as a person in order to win Rita, and after proving his situation to her only to wake up alone in bed at 6am once more the next day he sets about changing himself and the way he percieves and interacts with the world around him for the better.
The film is centered around the Aristotilian notion that the critera for living a good life is to live virtuously, and in honesty Groundhog Day is just a reinterpretation of Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' (in fact, Murray had already vistited this territory previously in the 80s Dickens update 'Scrooge'), but the film nevertheless manages to feel fresh, sharp and ultimately hearwarming, albeit with enough bitterness and cynicism throughout for the inevitably saccharine ending to remain palatable. A great seasonal film to chase away those Christmas blues.
Groundhog Day is one of those classic films that everyone should watch at least once in their lifetime!
The film follows the life of Phil Connors played by the amazingly funny Bill Murray! Phil Connors is a weatherman from a local Pitsburgh TV station who is sent to Punxsutawney to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities.
On Groundhog Day every year people gather from all around to see if a small groundhog who is also called Phil, see's it's shadow and tells people how much longer the Winter will last! If he sees his shadow, it means 6 more weeks of winter. (I think!) The crowds love this tradition but Phil has been covering this story for too many years and it's getting pretty boring for him!
6:00am and the Radio Alarm Clock ticks on to Sony and Cher's "I Got You Babe" and its Groundhog Day...
Groundhog Day is one of those classic films that everyone should watch at least once in their lifetime!
6:00am and the Radio Alarm Clock ticks on to Sony and Cher's "I Got You Babe" and its Groundhog Day...
Hmmmmm that was weird, I just had really bad Deja Vu! Anyways...
6:00am and the Radio Alarm Clock ticks on to Sony and Cher's "I Got You Babe" and its Groundhog Day... AGAIN! Phil is stuck repeating the same day over and over again! Stuck in a dead-end town, reporting from the same Groundhog Day event! As you can imagine it gets pretty boring very fast!
I love the way Phil learns everything that is going to happen and ends up changing so much, but nothing really happens. It really makes you think what you would do in the same situation!
Groundhog Day was made in 1993 by the great director Harold Ramis who also Wrote and Produced it! The script is well written and at 97 minutes long it moves along at a good place and never get boring.
Bill Murray is fantastic in this film as you really feel his pain when he is at his lowest and he is brilliantly funny when he needs to be!
Andie MacDowell co-stars as Rita, Phil's TV Producer who is accompanying him on the Groundhog Day report.
Phil starts off just using his "extra days" to his own advantage and tries to make it so that he can gain the most out of this situation for himself. But he soon realises that he should try to get the most out of it by helping others.
Groundhog Day is basically a comedy film but it does have some serious issues about morality and helping the needy. When Phil has lost his will to keep going I think Bill Murray shines as he really does play the "broken man" very well!
I watched this on TV the other day but you can pick it up on DVD for about £3 now so you can really grab a bargain! It's also going to be available on Blu-ray early in 2010 and I think it's one that I'll have to pick up!
If you like other Harold Ramis films such as Ghostbusters, Analyze This, Bedazzled & Year One etc, then you should really give Groundhog Day a watch as I think it is up there in icon status along with the great Ghostbusters!
Bill Murray fans will also love Groundhog Day as I think Phil is up there with the great Murray character that is Dr. Peter Venkman!
Groundhog Day is a very clever, funny film that can be enjoyed by everyone! It really has aged well! Great film. A true masterclass in Comedy!
Ever had the feeling of Deja Vu? Phil 9Bill Murray) is a disgruntled and miserable weatherman sent to a small Amercian town called Punxsutawney, PA, to report on the annual Groundhog Day festivities. These consist of a groundhog named Punxsutawnay Phil who can predict the length of the winter by his ability to see his own shadow. Once the report is over, Phil gets stuck in a snowstorm and has to stay in the town until it clears with his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliot) both of whom he treats with utter distain.
When he wakes the following morning he has a serious feeling of Deja Vu as the radio repeats the previous days broadcast and the people he meets have the same conversations with him. it soon becomes apparent that he is reliving Groundhog day again and again and no matter what he does he cannot break out of it. As he relives this day he is forced to look at others peoples lives and begins to start to care for people - particularly Rita who he falls in love with. Using his time he endeavours to make her fall for him too.
This is an extremely entertaining and funny film. Bill Murray as you may expect steals the show hands down (where was his Academ award nomination for this one?). McDowell is typical in her role - butter wouldn't melt in her mouth to the point of irritation. Eliott plays with great timing and charm.
The script is incredibly witty and the set pieces that Murray finds himself in and the ways he tries to escape his situation are constantly entertaining. Even when sentimentality kicks it the film always avoids being over-sentimental or sugar coated. It has remained timeless and is still as entertaining today as when it was made. A must see.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Groundhog Day is a fantastic comedy that's written by Harold Ramis, the superb mind behind the classic comedy Ghostbusters. Here he brings Bill Murray back into the fold for a rousing and immensely entertaining film.
The film revolves around a weatherman, Phil Connors (Bill Murray), who travels to Punxsutawney with his producer, Rita (Andie MacDowell), and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott), to document Groundhog Day, a ridiculous ritual where the townsfolk observe a groundhog to see whether the coming year will be a prosperous one. However, this is merely the start of the story - after a blizzard traps him and his crew in the town, he goes to sleep and wakes up experiencing the same day, stuck in a seemingly endless time loop which he uses to his advantage, messing around with the locals and also attempting to woo Rita, learning with each day what she likes and doesn't like.
What makes this so great is Bill Murray's charm - his character is thoroughly detestable, crude, and just plain horrible. However, his desperation as he seems to be unable to break the timeloop just gets more and more frantic, resulting in some truly zany situations, such as when he takes the groundhog hostage and drives it off of a cliff, exploding in a fireball, but inexplicably waking up in his bed the next "day". This is a warm and loving ode to the fantasy and rom-com genres - it's one of the best romantic comedies ever made and is also an utterly engrossing fantasy thanks to magnificent performances.
In my opinion one of the greatest romantic comedy of all time, Groundhog Day has a gimmick, yet rises above it to produce a hilarious and at times, poignant tale. Murray is fantastic as the thoroughly dislikable news anchor, and the various scrapes he gets into make for great viewing. Great stuff.
Anyone who has ever sat in work waiting for the clock to tick round to 5pm will sympathise with the plight of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. As grumpy, weatherman Phil Connors, he is trapped in a small, provincial town and forced to re-live the same day over and over again.
Groundhog Day is a great, if slightly uneven film and probably marks the last time one of the original "Ghostbusters" team was actually funny. Its simple concept is easy to pick up, yet provides plenty of scope for laughs as we witness Connors trying to stave off the boredom and, along the way, learning to be a better person.
There's no doubt that Groundhog Day is strongest in its middle section. The story has been set up and there's plenty of humour to be mined from seeing Connors test out his apparent ability to do anything, without consequence. It leaves the writers free to dream up all sorts of crazy situations that under normal circumstances would be stupid, but within the confines of Groundhog Day are very funny
It's also here that Murray's comic ability really shines though. His lugubrious face, sarcastic delivery of lines and general air of bad tempered bewilderment is what Murray does best. It's Pete Venkman after the Ghostbusting business died and it plays to Murray's strengths. Sure, he might be coasting and turning in the kind of performance we've seen before, but when it's this funny, why the hell not!
If the middle section provides most of the fun, things are a little patchier elsewhere. Give its relatively simple concept, the film does take a little while to get going, and this can be off-putting. I've tried to get people to watch this and they've run out of patience before the really funny stuff comes in. My advice is to stick with it. Yes, it's a little slow-paced at first, but this is because it is taking the time and care to set up the situations and characters from which the humour will flow later on, rather than relying on cheap nob gags and toilet humour. It's this that pays comedy gold later on, as Murray "relives" a slight variation on a familiar theme every day. The way Connors reacts (and the reaction of people to his increasingly bizarre behaviour) is brilliantly observed and well-worked into the film.
Even so, the early sections are not without plenty of laughs - although these are heavily reliant on Murray being rude and arrogant to people, so if you don't like this style, you may not find it particularly amusing.
It's just a shame that the ending is so formulaic. Sadly, as Connors goes through the film, he starts to learn the inevitable "life lessons" about how "it's nice to be nice". It's no surprise when we witness the change from big bad tempered tomato to Mr Cuddly Bear. This is not a transformation which sits easily with Murray. We want him to be rude, obnoxious and arrogant, because that's when he's funny. There's something very wrong (and unfunny) about Murray being nice.
Eventually, Groundhog Day slips into hugely predictable rom-com territory. OK, you know pretty much from the start that that's going to happen, but for three quarters of the film you don't mind, because it's funny. Once the "moral messages" and "love interest" take over, it drags; the final 15 minutes in particular move rapidly into "sick bag territory". Still, Mrs SWSt would probably say that's just me being a grumpy, cynical old man. Lovers of all things rom-com, will lap it up.
Speaking of rom-coms, the excellent lead established by Murray is somewhat dimmed by the incredibly bland Andie McDowall. Her TV producer, Rita, is so dull that you are seriously in danger of falling asleep every time she opens her mouth. She has an annoying little giggle which makes you want to extract her teeth with a pair of rusty pliers and no anaesthetic and delivers her lines in a way that makes the Collected Speeches of John Major look like a must have DVD. Why anyone would want to fall in love with her is a complete mystery. Personally, I always hope that one day when I watch it, the film will have miraculously changed. I envisage a scene where the Groundhog becomes rabid and viciously savages her to death, leaving Murray to spend an eternity being grumpy and funny. Given Hollywood's current penchant for remakes, may I should pitch that to them?
Anyway, my obvious bias against Blandie McDowell aside, part of the reason why Groundhog Day works so well is because it recognises its limitations. It knows that it's a relatively simple film and concentrates on having fun with its central concept, rather than asking lots of questions. We never find out why Murray is forced to relive the same day over and over; we find very little about his character's background or, indeed, the background of anyone in the film. Everything is kept simple and fun.
This refreshingly quick pace is something some of today's films could learn from. Groundhog Day is funny because it does what it can with a simple idea, then finishes. Once the available jokes are exhausted, things are wrapped up and the end credits roll. Sometimes, simple is better and whilst Groundhog Day is crushingly predictable, at least it's funny with it and knows when to call it a day.
By focusing on the excellent Bill Murray and his grumpy, bad-tempered character, Groundhog Day gives plenty of comedy to the viewer, whilst still managing provide a heart-warming ending for those who like their films with great big spoonfuls of syrup-stickiness.
It's not a film you will watch often (until recently, I last watched it about 10 years ago), but it is one that you will get plenty of enjoyment from when you do.
Director: Harold Ramis
Running time: approx 101 minutes
© Copyright SWSt 2009
Groundhog Day boosted the career of Bill Murray, as well as reminding viewers about Four Weddings and a Funeral's Andie MacDowell, in pretty much her final major role before she decided to spend the rest of her career making age-defying adverts about shampoo and face cream. Its plot is well-known, but mis-quoted. A jaded weather reporter is forced to re-live Groundhog Day over and over again.
Most reviews will mention something about 'until he gets it right' - but interestingly that's not something that's ever actually mentioned in the film itself. Seriously, go and watch it.
A review of this film by a non-American is always going to be of interest, as I realised when I looked at various reviews of the film all over the internet. I knew nothing about the whole Groundhog ritual thing until I saw the film, and I had no idea that the tradition was actually genuine until I read the reviews. And this puts me, perhaps, in a better position to appreciate the film than all the people who complained that it wasn't filmed in the real Punksatawney...
So many reviews fall into the trap of comparing the film's setting to the real Punksatawney (or wherever), and fail to truly come to terms with the material. Judging by the reviews, Groundhog Day is viewed in the US as a romantic comedy based around a quaint rural tradition. In the UK, it's viewed as a romantic comedy with a twist of magical realism. In France, it's praised as a masterpiece of modern philosophy that takes daring liberties with Hollywood formula. Seriously. I once saw it at a Bordeaux film festival alongside Stalker (Tarkovsky) and Le Mepris (Godard).
The French adore the film for the risks it takes with characterisation. Every implication of reliving a day is explored, from the practical (avoiding people you know in advance to be irritating) to the criminal (picking up a sack of cash you know will be briefly unattended). Phil is frequently a terribly unlikeable character. However, I think they too should really be looking in a different direction.
Ultimately, the film is a portrait of a single man, Phil Connor the weatherman. Each successive day allows us to see a different element of the same man, and Murray should have received far greater recognition for the immense emotional range he was required to cover. Although, like Phil himself, the film contains much which is cynical and jaded (the ease with which he picks up a young woman with just two or three pieces of information about her), it is ultimately a fairly warm and humanist work, stripping away each layer of the man until we come to the warm fuzzy centre of love and virtue at his core.
To begin with, Phil seems frozen. His conversation is cynical and unthinking, nothing that happens seems to affect him in any way. On his second day, this surface is blasted away, to be replaced by confusion. Already we can see a real human being in the character. He attempts to disguise this for a large part of the film by trying to turn his repetition to his advantage, stealing, drinking, screwing and doing whatever he feels like, and trying to con his way into the affections of his producer, Rita (MacDowell).
When he starts to realise the futility of this course of action, despair takes over. We see several suicide attempts, made all the more chilling in this supposed romantic comedy by the fact that even as he jumps from buildings and steps in front of vehicles, the blank despair in Bill Murray's face makes it clear he has little hope it will work.
What all these replayings of the same day teach Phil is that he can't fake his way through life without engaging himself emotionally, and a clear sign of this is that he eventually wins Rita not only through selfless acts of heroism, but also through developing an artistic streak in ice sculpting and piano playing. From this point of view, the beginning of his redemption is probably the scene playing in the snow when he falls down beside Rita for the second time, and shuffles to get as comfortable as before. A moment lost in time, impossible to regain by calculation.
The film really is a showcase for Bill Murray's immense range, and is probably up there with Ghostbusters and Lost in Translation as one of his finest pieces of work. For me, Andie MacDowell is a bit of a weak link as the love interest as she just never seems interested enough to capture Phil's attention so completely.
In a masterstroke story-telling decision, we never learn why Phil relives this one day for so long. He's not in a beyond-death coma, and no guardian angel is trying to reform him. Every day that we see could easily be the 'real' one. The implications of the ending are ambiguous. Nothing in the town ever changes. Strange American countryfolk practice their insane tradition with a giant hamster as they have done for years, with the result that winter lasts longer. All around we are shown people striving to make every day the same, apparently even the man who has genuinely achieved this.
Ultimately, what the film shows is not any kind of 'seize the day' message, or anything about God entering our lives (I did sneer quite unashamedly at that one, I'm afraid), or even how one man has to 'get it right' one day. What it shows, very clearly, is that Time never changes. We merely change through Time. The instability of our basic identities is thrown into sharp relief by demonstrating how much one person can change their character in just twenty-four hours.
Plus there's a really funny bit when Phil stuffs a whole piece of cake in his mouth in one bite.
I have split my review into two sections. Enjoy!
Phil Conners (Bill Murray) experiences the same day over and over again. He is essentially stuck in eternity and no-one realises except him. The world "resets" every morning at 6:00am. The plot develops logically - with Phil naturally thinking he's gone crazy to begin with, then enjoying the experience of having "no tomorrow, no consequences" then finally decides to set his sights on his co-worker, Rita (Andie MacDowell).
The film is extremely memorable and well crafted. You might expect that a film concerning only one day, repeating over and over could get tedious. But it's cleverly cut so we don't see the same material each time and, if we do, there's a new comic twist to enjoy. Phil explores the various possibilities that this bizarre time warp can offer, meeting every person in town, learning piano and even driving a car along the railway line. Sometimes these things are advantageous (no prison sentence, no hangover!) and sometimes it is very frustrating (as no-one remembers him on the following "day").
The humour is my very favourite kind - witty, well observed and not slapped across your face like some Rom Coms can do.
As one expects from DVDs these days, the disc features original theatrical trailers, deleted scenes and various documentaries. Interestingly, the director reveals in the audio commentary that Phil Conners was invisaged as repeated Groundhog Day for approximately 10 years - an interesting piece of trivia that is fun to think about when watching the movie. Considering that Phil has learned piano, ice sculpting and met almost every person in town this would make sense!
Ever had the perfect day? One that you'd like to live over and over again? Perhaps it would be that day you spent on the beach with a cool beer in your hand?
In Groundhog day Bill Murray plays a weatherman by the name of Phil, who is trapped in an infinitely repeating day. The day he repeats is, however, a tedious, cold boring workday in a village which he can't wait to leave.
However, this experience begins to change Phil from an arrogant, self-obsessed oaf into a more considerate and well-rounded man with an eye for art and a more selfelss outlook on life.
I highly rate this film as it is a highly original plot which is done justice by a solid cast (including Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell) and effectively delivered to the screen by Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters). Whilst the plot line may prove a little challenging to some people, Bill Murray's smooth and self-aware style keeps the laughs coming.
Even though it is getting on for 18 years old, this movie still seems quite fresh thanks to the way in which it keeps a consistently timeless style throughout. I'd therefore definately recommend this for readers who have never seen it or who want to explore Bill Murray's back catalogue!
Bill Murray could well be getting typecast. His second rodent movie in as many decades could be setting a trend. After the quintessential eighties comedy, Caddyshack, where he was a grounds-man who waged a war against a gopher, our hero is a sarcastic weatherman pitted against a wily groundhog in 1992's Groundhog Day.
Phil Connors is a weatherman who gets sent to the small town of Punxsutawney to cover the annual Groundhog Day festival. With him are his new producer, Rita and his cameraman, Larry.
Phil isn't exactly fond of small towns and quirky traditions and makes this abundantly clear to his colleagues. After giving a lacklustre report, they leave the town to head back to the city when they get caught in a blizzard. The worst happens, or so it seems to Phil, and they have to spend the night back in Punxsutawney.
The next morning, Phil wakes up and Sonny and Cher are still playing on the radio, just as the previous morning. He gets ready for the day and experiences a growing sense of déjà vu. His worst fears are confirmed when he gets to the town square and sees the Groundhog Festival still in progress. It's still February 2nd. The day is repeating, again and again and again. Phil is trapped living the same day over, initially a nightmare, but he soon realises that he can shape the day to his advantage and sets about ensnaring the affections of Rita.
Ghostbusters co-star, Harold Ramis directs admirably. This film is all in the details, the careful observation of scenes and especially continuity has to be spot on for this idea to work. Just check the scenes in the diner and when Phil meets Ned, the insurance salesman. Pay attention to the background action and you'll see events repeated over the entire scene. This degree of intricacy isn't always necessary but shows how much effort went into this film.
The film itself is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. The image itself is uniformly good, if a little soft, but that may be how the original film was.
Groundhog Day comes with a Dolby Surround soundtrack in five languages. You should note that this is the same in the new Collectors edition if you're looking for DD 5.1 This is a dialogue heavy film and the sound is great at conveying that.
The music is by George Fenton and is suitable to the film. But be warned, I rapidly grew tired of the Pennsylvania Polka and my hatred of Sonny and Cher's I've Got You Babe knows no bounds.
The menu is a simple static image and the extras are limited to Filmographies and a trailer only. There are some production notes with the chapter insert, which are quite informative though.
Bill Murray is Phil Connors and plays a role that we have seen often. The sarcastic, wisecracking smart-ass, who is quick with the quip, a character we have seen often since the days of Ghostbusters. Fortunately, the script is good enough to use his talents well, and the familiar persona doesn't become tiresome. This is definitely one of his better films.
I am not a fan of Andie MacDowell. She is pleasing enough, but her performances have never really been memorable. Here she just has to act as straight man to Bill Murray and she does that well. But as I try to recall any facets of the personality she portrayed in the role as Rita, I can't think of anything beyond bland.
The rest of the cast is good, Chris Elliot as the pathetic cameraman Larry is funny at times, but make no mistake, this is a Bill Murray vehicle and he is definitely the star, and it's on his performance that this film rests.
This is a likeable enough comedy, especially if you are a fan of Bill Murray. The idea of the repeating day isn't often done in movies. Here there is no attempt at explanation or any theories expounded. This makes for a better movie, as you accept what is happening without question and just enjoy the story that unfolds.
If there is one problem with the film is the Phil and Rita romance. Phil's repeated attempts to seduce her rapidly grow tiring and the interlude slows the movie right down before it picks up again. Andie MacDowell as Rita is fine when Bill Murray plays off her, but there is little chemistry between the two, and the happy ending seems trite. So by and large, this is a funny film that is enjoyable by everyone. Bill Murray is on top form and if you are a fan then all the better.
Decent, lighthearted and fully amusing slapstick is hard to come by these days, and 1993's Groundhog Day manages to also be genuinely wise about the human condition. All this and belly laughs too! Bill Murray stars as Phil, a bored, petulant news reporter, who is ordered to give his annual live report from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2. Though desperate to get out of the one-horse town and the appallingly sentimental assignment, Phil finds himself reliving the same day over and over again until he finally mends his ways. The film takes an absurd situation and explores its every imaginable comic possibility. Because none of the other characters are aware that Groundhog Day is continually repeating itself, Phil goes through a repertoire of responses, from conniving lust for Rita (Andie MacDowell) to gleeful nihilism to a Zen resignation worthy of Buster Keaton. Murray is reliably good, and this flick gives him a chance to be warm (though never fuzzy).