Paranormal Romance — Movie Review
Only True Love Will Set You Free
What would you do if you found yourself trapped in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania repeating the same day over and over again? In Groundhog Day, this is exactly the predicament that aging weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) finds himself in.
A cantankerous, sarcastic, and rather selfish middle-aged man, Connors finds himself, much to his chagrin, covering the annual Groundhog Day festival for his news station. With his duty fulfilled, he is eager to escape the small Pennsylvania town, only to soon find himself caught in a time loop and forced to repeat the day’s events.
Without a doubt, this is a film propelled by the force of Bill Murray’s acting, and it makes great use of his comedic skills. Though the comedy is rather black at times, there’s enough humor throughout this film to keep the audience thoroughly entertained even when Phil Connors is depressed, despondent, and actively suicidal. From a thoroughly unlikable, irascible character, viewers are treated to Phil’s transformation into a man worth rooting for—definitely a great performance by Murray.
With the addition of Andie MacDowell in the role of Phil’s producer, Rita Hanson, the groundwork for the film’s romantic subplot is laid. MacDowell delivered a great performance, and the evolution of Rita’s relationship with Phil is humorous and believable, as he struggles on each daily repeat to woo her, only to fail dismally time after time. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger though, and Phil is certainly a determined man with plenty of time on his hands.
A rich cast of extras, including Chris Elliot, Stephen Tobolowsky, Angela Paton, and many more bring added life and realism to the film despite the brevity of their roles. In addition to the cast, the settings, costumes, and scripting are excellent. With top quality cinematography and a soundtrack that fits like a glove, it’s easy to suspend disbelief and become immersed in Groundhog Day for the entirely of its 1:41 runtime.
Despite the relatively short runtime (at least for those of us who are accustomed to devouring epic 3-hour romances), Groundhog Day manages not to feel rushed or choppy. Indeed, the film manages to cover a rather classic 3-part arc during its screen time.
Best of all, when you get past the black humor and cantankerous main character that typify the first part of the film, what you’re left with in the end is an uplifting moral and a sweet love story—because despite all of Phil’s attempts to escape his time loop, what finally sets him free is a combination of self-improvement, genuinely selfless actions, and no small amount of true love. So if you haven’t seen this 90s classic, grab a copy now and enjoy.