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Do you ever get Deja Vu?
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About the Movie
Minor Story Spoilers
Character
Deja Vu.
As a general rule when I’m watching films, I generally don't watch pure comedy films. I watch a lot of films with comedy elements (like Guardians of the Galaxy) but pure comedy films never really interested me… that is until I saw Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day has one of those ideas which you think: why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? Let’s delve in and see why Groundhog Day is one of the all time classics:
Quote The film follows an unpredictable character called Phil Connors, a weatherman who begins his day filming the annual (real-life) Groundhog festival. He hates every minute of it, and is distraught when a snow storm means he can't leave, and has to stay the night in his “worst place in the world”. This sounds quite ordinary so far, doesn’t it?

It’s what happens afterwards is when the magic begins. Much to our amusement, Phil finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. This works so well because of Bill Murray’s fantastic performance. He is only the only main character for the entire movie, so the audience is sold on Phil’s predicament very quickly, we (the audience), get as confused as he does.

Editing and structure, just like the score, can do just as much good to a film as the director. Imagine trying to edit this film after seeing the finished product, you get the sense that editing Groundhog Day must have been a nightmare. But it all worked out, as it never gets confusing and keeps a steady (but not slow) pace throughout. You never get lost on where you are or more in Phil's daily routine.

Speaking of the word repeat, which rings so true with Groundhog Day, it would be a very repetitive experience if we see the same day over and over again. This isn’t the case. Saying that, Phil does relies on routine quite a lot. We follow him directly for the first few days, slowly seeing his reactions of confusion of the situation and his surroundings.
[Phil Conners]"What blizzard? It's a couple of flakes!"
After that, we see different parts of each “day”. I'm not saying we don't see the same part from each day more than once, we do. But the film-makers and editors did a great job of keeping things unexpected, as you never know what Phil will do next or what part of the day we’ll see. It also makes it hard to predict what happens next because of the unpredictability of Phil as a character. Some of the ways he takes advantage of the day getting reset is quite unpredictable indeed.

If your thinking all the magic of Groundhog Day is the premise and the lead character, that’s not quite the full story. The film is set in Punxsutawney, a little town in Pennsylvania. The people that Phil interacts with during his stay just add to the surreal experience. Rita and Larry, Phil's film crew, appear quite a lot, and bounce off Phil's character well. This is especially true of Rita, as the other characters in the film are a bit of the “weird” at times, she certainly isn’t. That’s why Phil relates her so much.

There are few other colourful characters from the town that appear and interact with Phil at some point. Highlights include Ned Ryerson, the annoying salesmen who knew Phil at school and Buster, who cares for the Groundhog itself. The supporting cast does a great job, as coming from their point of view, some scenes require to act the exact same every scene, while the other actors have to act surprised time after time.

Groundhog Day is unique in a lot of ways. It had a unique premise at the time and was so successful that films have borrowed the basic premise (Live Die Repeat) to great effect. No remake or re-imagination has ever been made (surprising how many remakes there are currently in the movie industry), and even over 20 years later and including the film’s inspired by Groundhog Day, it still feels fresh.

The film does document someone living the exact same day, for up to hundreds of years. It's a concept that does get you thinking outside the movie itself. It gets you to start asking questions, like:
> What would you do?
> What couldn't you do?
> Would try to help people or keep to yourself?
> How would living the same day improve yourself as a person?
> What skills could you learn?

Who says films can't be educational?


Closing Thoughts
Classic Classic
The intriguing and unique story, coupled with some impressive editing and a great performance from the actors, it’s a mixture of these that make Groundhog Day. Hats off to Bill Murray, as he is in a class of his own. A unique film that was a great idea on paper and works even better when the idea is fully realized. It has stood the test of time. A classic.

My One Big Highlight
Spiderman I could of said the entire concept, but that would be cheating. My one big highlight is the origins of the time-loop. The film never explains how or why the time-loop started with Phil on that particular day. With it not being explained, it’s up to the audience to invent a reason. So Doc Brown, has the space time continuum been corrupted recently?
Elephant In the Room
elephantYes, I know I just referenced that scene in my one big highlight, but I was struggling to come up with something bad! I thought the scene where we see Phil kill himself in a number of ways was ok, but they could of omitted that, as the scene of the diner would of sufficed when he says: “I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned.” But that is nitpicking for you.