Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dec/ Chapter 5: Groundhog day

Just a warning, there are spoilers in this post, so beware if you haven't seen Groundhog day, but I strongly suggest you go see it because it's a classic.

I was watching this movie the other day, and was reminded again how great this comedy is. With most comedies it no longer stays funny after the punch lines are revealed, but in this movie the story is ao thoughtful and meaningful that watching the movie many times doesn't seem to make it dull.

Bill Murray is Phil Connors, a mean spirited and cynical weather man (roles Bill Murray often play), and he has to travel to a small town outside Pittsburg to report on groundhog day. It's an annual festival where the locals use a groundhog to predict if winter will end early or last several more weeks.

After the report and festivities, Bill attempts to leave town with his camera man and his producer, Rita. But they find a blizzard has moved in so they can't leave town. After going to bed, Phil wakes up the next day to find it's Groundhog day again, and then is forced to relive the day over and over again.

The absurdity of Phil discovering that he's repeating the same day is amusing enough. But every time that alarm clock goes off, and the radio starts playing, "I Got You Babe," and Phil goes through the same motions and meets the same people and then goes out into the street to be accosted by the same annoying high school buddy, with different outcomes is pure genious.

Then Phil starts to take advantage of the situation firstly by breaking the law and seeing if he can get away with it, and then by finding out all the details of the local girls, so he can date and have sex with them. Since he relives the same day again and again his ability to chat up the women is almost guaranteed, because if he makes a mistake he can just simply start fresh the next day, and the girls are unaware of his intentions.

After seducing other girls in the town Phil tries to seduce his producer Rita. He tries to do the same things he did with the other girls, but fails miserably, because Rita is too smart and sees right through him. He tells her that he loves her, only to get slapped because she realizes she's getting played. She may not understand the full supernatural implications of what he's doing, but she senses that he's somehow manipulating the situation. Phil may think he's a god, but he isn't all-powerful.

Seeing his failure, it finally dawns on Phil that he's in a depressing inescapable position, so tries to kill himself over and over again, and even fails at this because he still wakes up on groundhog day again and again.

Eventually he tells Rita one night whilst she is asleep, knowing full well she can't hear him that he probably doesn't deserve her love, but if she could only love him, then he would learn to love her forever. Phil realizes because he loves such a sincere woman as Rita, the only way he can finally impress her is by genuinely changing himself rather than faking it. To make himself kinder and more caring to everyone around him, to stop all the lies and manipulation, and turn into a genuine nice guy.

It is only when Rita falls in love with him, and buys him in an auction at a party, that Phil's curse is finally lifted. They wake up together the next morning (there was no sex) and find it's the next day, and Phil is able to get on with his life, and he now has Rita to share his life with.

Moral of the story?

Phil Connors must live the same day over and over again, and is forced to realize that the only real change that will ever be possible must happen within himself. It is interesting that Phil is a weatherman, the weather is a perfect metaphor for something that changes constantly...without, in the long term, changing at all. We can be distracted by the superficial changes in the world around us, and forget that real change in our lives must come from within.

If a guy is good at seduction and manipulation, he can get himself laid with half the town, but ultimately he's cursed and destined to live the rest of his life self centered and lonely. If he truly desires a wonderful woman, and true love, then he has to genuinely change himself to being a decent man.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oooh, how very comforting to hear - "If a guy is good at seduction and manipulation, he can get himself laid with half the town, but ultimately he's cursed and destined to live the rest of his life self centered and lonely". i like this line the most! XD


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