As a semi-moviegoer, I admit that I hate romantic movies, especially
those of comedy type. No matter how touching they might be and how
highly-praised they are, I don’t feel empathy for them. But, now I think
I should discard my old bias because the very film I have watched lately
is utterly stunning out of the blue. It is Groundhog Day.
It tells a story that weatherman Phil Connors sets off with news producer Rita Hanson and cameraman Larry for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the next morning's Groundhog Day festivities. Phil makes no secret of his contempt for the assignment, the small town, and the "hicks" who live there. On February 2, Phil awakens at his Punxsutawney bed and breakfast to Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" on the clock radio and the declaration, "It's Groundhog Day!" He tapes a half-hearted report on Punxsutawney Phil and the town's festivities. But as they return to Pittsburgh, the blizzard—the one that Phil predicted would miss the area—resolves the issue by blanketing the region in snow, stranding them in Punxsutawney. Phil shuns the celebrations and retires to bed early. Phil wakes to "I Got You Babe" and the same announcement from the radio, and soon discovers the day's events repeating exactly as before. He finds he is trapped in a time loop that no one else is seemingly aware of. Phil realizes there are no consequences for his actions, and behaves rambunctiously. However, Phil soon becomes depressed being stuck in the loop, leading him to find ways to commit suicide to end the loop. Even with his apparent deaths, he still wakes up to "I Got You Babe" on February 2. Phil tries to explain his situation to Rita, for whom he has feelings. Rita takes sympathy and they spend the entirety of one loop together, ending up falling asleep on Phil's bed that night. However, Phil still wakes up alone at the start of February 2. He decides to use his knowledge of the day's events to try to better himself and the lives of the townsfolks. Ultimately, on one loop, Phil eagerly attends the Groundhog Day festivities, and gives a very eloquent report broadcast by all of the other camera crews, amazing Rita. Phil and Rita spend the rest of the day together, with Phil impressing her with his apparent overnight transformation through his contributions to the festivities and helpful nature to the townsfolk. Phil tells her that no matter what happens, even if he is doomed to continue awakening alone each morning forever, he wants her to know that he is finally happy, because he loves her. They retire together to Phil's lodgings. Phil wakes to "I Got You Babe" again, but finds Rita is still in bed with him, and Punxsutawney covered in a fresh blanket of snow; it is February 3 and he has been able to escape the time loop. As they walk out together and marvel at the peaceful, beautiful town, Phil comments to Rita that they should live there. The story ends up with a happy ending.
Generally speaking, Phil is an unwelcome guy who despises his job, everyone around him, and even himself, which result in his unpopularity. He then falls into a series of loops, which could be divided into four parts. During the first several loops, he indulges himself in turbulent behaviour, such as binge drinking, one-night stands, and reckless driving, out of bore, confusion, and agony. As time goes by, he becomes familiar with everyone and everything in this small town. He begins to go after Rita with his accumulated knowledge of her through his tribulation and triumph in the process day in and day out. However, he can be attracted to her but he fails to make her lose her heart to him. Having been through the fatal hilarity, he is confronted with huge gloom that he is circulated in the very groundhog day meaninglessly. Hence, the third part is about how he tries to end himself by committing suicide, including electrocuting himself with a toaster in a bathtub and driving off a cliff. Even with his apparent deaths, he still wakes up to "I Got You Babe" on February 2. In the last few loops, he gives up on ending the day and learns how to play the piano, sculpt ice, and speak French, and learns to treat others genuinely. He becomes a positive man eventually and wins Rita over.
It is a pretty motivatonal story which describes different kinds of people, or different stages of a person’s life when stuck in loops where there seems to be no ends. Some abandon themselves and spend their days in pointless activities, some immerse themselves in great grief and collapse gradually, the other people never surrender and try to make everyday of their lives valuable, even if they know it well that life is endless while fleeting. It is a reflection of our normal life that is like “groundhog day”, yet it has an end. We are doing the same old things each day but many of us have given up to finding ourselves. To a certain extent, we are just some noisy sound of the system.
Unlike most underwhelming romance films, this one is unique since it involves a lot of thinking about human’s living status and gives the viewers a appropriate or disinterested answer, though in some way, The Matrix and Person of Interest later describe that better. It is middlebrow but remarkable. All in all, I think it deserves to be one of the best films of all times.
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