|Bill Murray in 'Groundhog Day'|
are many reasons that I love ‘Groundhog Day’, including its high repeat value. And
while for many years I saw it just as a comedy with Bill Murray, during a
recent viewing I realised that the film has more to it than just that.
film’s story revolves around a self-centered and sour TV meteorologist Phil
Connors (Bill Murray), news producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry
(Chris Elliott) from a fictional television station. They all travel to
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day. Having grown
tired of this assignment, Phil grudgingly gives his report and attempts to
return when a blizzard shuts down the roads and he is forced to return and stay
in the town overnight. The next day Phil wakes up to find that he is reliving
February 2, with no one else aware of the time loop.
film though fictional, says a lot about life itself. Even though Phil was
trapped in the same day, it is not unlike a feeling that many of us experience.
The mundane nature of everyday life is such that while the date does change the
next morning, the day might just remain the same. The film obviously works on
many levels other than the philosophical one and is actually a very
entertaining comedy with Bill Murray giving one of his best performances as Phil
love the way Phil starts out when he realises his predicament. One of the first
series of activities that he indulges in while trapped in the day are
hedonistic and self-destructive including sleeping with random women and
attempting multiple suicides. There are no qualms about the fact that Phil has
a negative outlook on life and could not be a more unsuitable candidate for a
heroic lead. Bill Murray does not cut any corners in depicting Phil as the
bitter, vain man and still manages to humanise the character through a slow change
seeping into him after months spent trapped in the Groundhog Day.
is also surrounded by multiple characters all of who start out looking as bland
but end up making a lasting impression on his life. The best encounters are
obviously the ones he has with his producer Rita (MacDowell) where he tries
relentlessly to seduce her but succeeds only when he makes real changes in his
life. Even though the film is not much of a romance, it is the last 20 minutes
of the film that are better than any romantic-comedy I have ever seen.
film’s screenplay is by director Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin, and one of the
best things about it. While the film could have treaded on the path of complete
insanity given the premise, it manages to be a bitter-sweet comedy with a soul.
is one of those films that can be enjoyed by everyone and not just a niche
audience based on intellect, gender or preferences. And this is why it makes
for such a great watch. If you have not seen it, you are really missing out on
Labels: Comedy, CRITIC'S PICKS, English, Must watch, Romance