THROWBACK: ‘Groundhog Day’: An unlikely philosophical story

BY Jen T. Tuazon

Groundhog Day (1993, Comedy)

Groundhog Day (1993, Comedy)

The critically acclaimed movie Groundhog Day, from its title, to its plot, to its main star, would never have struck me as a “thinking” movie. But the film is just that. And more.

Bill Murray stars as Phil Connors, a TV weather guy who begrudgingly goes on an assignment to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the “Groundhog Day,” a local custom in the US celebrated every February 2nd, where the appearance of a groundhog (named ‘Punxsutawney Phil’ in the movie) is awaited and anticipated as it will supposedly determine how long winter will last.

Bill Murray, Andie McDowell and Chris Elliot star in Groundhog Day.

Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliot star in Groundhog Day.

After covering the event, Phil tries to rush home, only to be stranded by a snowstorm and left with no choice but to stay the night in Punxsutawney. When he wakes up the next day, however, he finds himself in a case of deja vu: it’s still Groundhog Day! And so began Phil’s living-the-same-day,-each-day predicament.

It’s actually a simple story and one we’ve seen before: a man wakes up to the same day, each day. But there’s something about Phil trying to get out of the deja vu, denying it at first, then embracing it later, that will make you think and ask yourself, “What would I do?” What would you do if nothing you do today will matter tomorrow? What would you do if each day, you get to start all over again? Would you look at it as a life without consequences, or a life of opportunities and an infinite number of second chances?

Bill Murray's character, Phil, eating like there's no tomorrow.

Bill Murray’s character, Phil, eating like there’s no tomorrow.

If this is not the first time you’ve heard of the movie, it’s probably because it is often on the lists of greatest movies in the past century. And for good reason. So don’t let the first minutes of the film fool you: it may seem boring and dragging in the beginning, but the movie is worth seeing ’til the end.

Moving Music: One of the most memorable scenes in the film was courtesy of the song “You Don’t Know Me” by Ray Charles. You may listen to this excellent cover by Anna Wilson and Matt Giraud:


One thought on “THROWBACK: ‘Groundhog Day’: An unlikely philosophical story

  1. Pingback: Movies I Love, Except for Their Endings! | Better Endings

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