Title: Groundhog Day
Release Date: 12 February 1993
Director: Harold Ramis
Production Company: Columbia Pictures
I hadn’t watched Groundhog Day since the 1990s so I figured the 25th anniversary of its release would be a good time to see if it has held up. The first thing I noticed about the movie is that the production is very 80s/90s, and OMG! Bill Murray looks so young! The story is familiar, seeped into our culture by now. We see egocentric meteorologist Phil Connors head to cover the Groundhog Day ceremony and then he has to live that same day again and again and again, until he learns a lesson and does it right. The thing that’s always impressed me is that Phil doesn’t repeat the same day for a week or two, but it’s implied that he’s caught in the loop for thousands perhaps tens of thousands of times. It’s also impressive that the filmmakers were brave enough to never offer an explanation of how or why Phil gets caught in the loop (or how he gets out), it just happens.
Groundhog Day is more melancholy than I remembered. It moves very smoothly among madcap comedy, romantic comedy, and a more solemn reflection on mortality and morality rather seamlessly. Much of this is due to the versatility of Bill Murray who can offer both wacky and gravitas depending on the situation. I guess Groundhog Day set him up for these type of roles that he’s become more well-known for in his later career in movies such as Rushmore and Lost in Translation.
So it turns out that Groundhog Day is actually better than I remembered and a deserved classic.