About the Movie
Deja Vu. When people watch movies, they generally have a specific genre of film that they enjoy most. Be it action, comedy, animation or other genres, there's something for everyone... (Man, I sound like a TV advert voiceover...) As a general rule, I generally don't watch pure comedy films but after seeing this film, I had to make an exception. Groundhog Day is very unique in the way its presented and shown, and is one of the best films ever made. So here's three reasons why Groundhog Day is a classic:
Reason 1: Unique premise
Groundhog Day is quite unique in a number of ways. The film had a unique premise at the time of it's release, and barring a few films with similar concepts (more recently, Live Die Repeat), it still stands up on its own for over 20 years. No remake or re-imagination of the film has been made or currently in production (that we know of). So with remakes left, right and centre in the movie industry currently, this means it has stood the test of time.
The film documents someone living the exact same day, for hundreds or maybe thousands of years. It's a concept that gets you thinking and gets you to start asking questions, like these:
> What would you do if the same day happened day after day?
> Would you do bad things or good things?
> Would try to help people or keep yourself to yourself?
> How would living the same day improve yourself as a person?
> What skills could you learn?
> What couldn't you do?
Who says films can't be educational?
Reason 2: Clever editing
I think the editing and structure, just like the score, can do just as much to a film as the director himself/herself. The editing of this film must have been a nightmare, because of certain parts of the film having multiple repeats. But it's fantastic. You rarely get lost on where you are in the story or in Phil's daily routine.
Since the word “repeat” rings so true with Groundhog Day, it would be a very repetitive experience if we see the same day over and over again. So what they did with the film is the viewers see different parts of each “day”, to keep it fresh. I'm definitely not saying we don't see the same part from each day more than once, we do. The film-makers and editors did a great job of keeping the flow of the film fresh throughout, and you never know what Phil will do next or what part of the day we will see. This also makes very hard to predict what happens next, because of the unpredictability of Phil as a character.
Reason 3: Phil's character.
Bill Murray plays 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".
What happens after this ordinary start to the film is when the magic happens. Much to our amusement, Phil finds that he relives that same day all over again. This is a great idea on paper, it works even better when the idea is fully realized, and a lot of this is Phil as a character, and Murray's believable performance. The reason why the character is so good is the audience gets as confused as Phil does. We follow him directly for the first few days, which we see his reaction to the same day. While initially being confused, he starts taking advantage of the day getting reset in various ways, some predicable, others certainly not.
The characters Phil interacts with during his stay in Punxsutawney just add to the surreal experience. Rita and Larry, Phil's film crew, appear throughout his stay, make good additions as they bounce off Phil's character well. Other characters from the town appear throughout the film too, which all interact with Phil at some point. The supporting cast does a good job, as coming from an acting point of view, some scenes require to act the exact same every scene, while others the actors have to act like they don't know what's going to happen. So an exceptional job by them.
The unique story, the editing, and the great acting from everyone, especially Bill Murry, it's an interesting which you should check out. The best way to find out how good it is, is to watch it for yourself, as you will probably be grinning all the way through like I was when I first saw Groundhog Day. A classic.
My One Big Highlight
I could of said the entire concept, but specifically, I quite liked one of the scenes in the diner, where Phil tells Rita that he's “a God, not the God”. He then lists all the ways he gets killed: “I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned.” That expression on the waitresses face says it all.
Elephant In the Room
Yes, I know I just referenced that scene in my one big highlight, but I was struggling to come up with something bad about the film! 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. But that is nitpicking for you.