Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.

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Groundhog Day

Film #220

THE PLOT

A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again.

Year 1, Day 217

BEFORE: You know what today is? That’s right, Groundhog Day. So what film am I watching? That’s right, Groundhog Day. This will actually be my second viewing of the film but I just could resist watching it on the actual “holiday”, plus, I could also make some sort of argument that the act of watching it again also relates to the film. But rather than ramble on here, I’m just going to watch.

AFTER: Groundhog Day is definitely one of those films with rewatch potential. It lends itself nicely to making a tradition of watching it once a year, every year, and the day which it’s named after. Am I right or am I right? Or am I right? But while I very much enjoyed watching this film a second time, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s one of the better films in this marathon.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a whole bunch I like about this film. Of course there’s the Harold Ramis/Bill Murray humor (this pair has also created films like Stripes, Ghostbusters, and Caddyshack) with Bill Murray really carrying this film. But there’s also some great supporting characters most notably Stephen Toblowsky as Ned Ryerson (am I right?) without whom, Phil Connors (Bill Murray) would have no one to interact with and do his thing. But unique to this film is the story and the structure with how it’s told. The plot itself is very traditional, a guy who’s not satisfied with his position in life and wants more, but there is an added sci-fi element to it: alteration of time. The same day, Groundhog Day, is replayed over and over again with Phil being the only one who is effected. To everyone else it’s as if the day is happening for the first time but Phil is spending years (if not decades) living the same day. It’s this twist on how the story is told that makes it compelling. There are merits for the film that makes it good otherwise (acting, writing, cinematography) but this sci-fi element is what gives it the classic status and “eligible” for a rewatch every year.

Groundhog Day will always have a place on my shelf of films and be something I revisit every now and again. It’s funny, it’s original, and above all, it has a heartfelt message that it gets across: you have a lot to appreciate in life. You may not realize it and it could take years reliving the same day, but eventually you understand that there’s more to life than just yourself. Despite all of these positive words though, I’m still hesitant in giving it a full five stars. There’s just something holding it back in my mind from that level of pure entertainment. So while the rating may only be four stars, my recommendation to see this film is very high.

RATING: 4 out of 5