Phil Connors (Bill Murray) a self-centered weatherman, goes to the town of Punxsutawney for an assignment. He is later shocked when he wakes up the next morning and realizes that he is reliving the same day over and over.
Whoever came up with the genius concept behind Groundhog Day is the definition of a genius themselves. The idea seems like such a no-brainer for an entertaining movie, but it took until 1993 for it to fully come to the big screen with Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day, an incredibly hilarious yet emotionally strong coming-of-age science-fiction comedy film that still holds up close to two decades later.
So many movies in the following years have toyed with the same time loop idea that Groundhog Day made popular, most notably the Happy Death Day series of films, which I personally consider to be masterpieces, but Ramis did it first and to amazing results. Groundhog Day manages to be both hilarious yet somewhat sad as you realize that Phil Connors is stuck living the same day over and over again.
Some people would use this permanent time loop to their advantage and get the winning lottery numbers for instance. They could do absolutely anything they wanted with the comforting knowledge that the next day, none of it would matter because technically it didn’t happen. The next day is the same day as the one you just lived.
And for a while, Phil hates what’s going on as he realizes that he is stuck living through February 2nd. He was already a miserable guy that not many people liked before that day, but he becomes even more of a jerk when he has to go through the same day. But there comes a pivotal point in Groundhog Day where he does use the time loop to his advantage. He slowly starts to become a better person.
He starts to realize the error of his ways and sees how much of an unlikable person he truly is and feels deeply embarrassed and upset with the way he has been acting. So, he makes it a mission to become a better person and wants to impress his producer Rita Hanson (Andie MacDowell), whom he has a major crush on.
Their relationship in this movie is simply pure joy and highly infectious. Bill Murray delivers one of the best and most hilarious performances of his career as Phil Connors. His comedic timing is not only a thing of beauty, but he also manages to show his more emotional and layered side whenever the script calls for it.
And Andie MacDowell is similarly great in a role that is crucial to Phil Connors taking his first steps to become a better person. He falls truly in love with Rita and wants nothing more than to be with the girl he loves on a brand new, unpredictable day. Groundhog Day is a goofy movie at its core. It’s filled with tons of jokes and it’s a wildly enjoyable ride, but it also serves as a movie deeply rooted in emotion and compassion.
Overall Grade: A+
MPAA Rating: PG for some thematic elements
Directed by: Harold Ramis
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: February 12, 1993
Running Time: 101 minutes