I’ve been waiting. For two years. To write this review. Just so I could be on time for Groundhog Day. Was it worth it? Not really.
Everyone knows the basic premise of Groundhog Day. That aspect of the movie has become downright iconic. The number of movies, games, books, where the character gets stuck in a one-day time loop have become extremely numerous. But to this day, this movie is the one that’s done it the best.
Though I do love Edge of Tomorrow. But that’s a topic for another day.
The story is simple. Phil is a successful reporter with an ego the size of Jupiter. When he heads off to Punxsutawney for his annual report on their Groundhog Day celebration, he ends up stuck due to a blizzard. Suddenly, he finds himself trapped in a time loop, reliving Groundhog Day in an endless loop! Can Phil find a way to break the loop?
This movie is the textbook example of how editing can make or break a movie. If this were cut like any other movie, it wouldn’t be nearly as iconic as it is today.
This cuts between each day in Phil’s loop is absolutely brilliant. It works perfectly well for both comedy, heartbreak, and horror. It gives a fantastic sense of just how many loops he really goes through.
It lends itself well to the pacing, too. Towards the beginning, each loop is slow, lasting several minutes. Then, as the loop continues and Phil learns the ins and outs of the town, they get faster and faster. It’s a clever trick that makes the situation seem endless and madenning.
Not to mention that it’s timed really well with the music. Which is just okay. Nothing especially incredible, but not bad.
Now, as for the writing: it’s pretty good. Simple, yes, but well executed. Only Phil and Ms. Love Interest have any depth beyond a single gag. But that’s fine, considering that the story is pretty much exclusively focused on them.
Those extra characters do make for a great display of Phil’s growth. Watching him slowly grow fond of them is pretty nice and satisfying. Plus, it lends itself well to the finale, when Phil basically becomes the town’s local Superman.
The tone of the movie is the more effectively executed side of the story. It’s a perfect balancing act between comedy and horror. One minute, you’re watching Phil go on a bender. The next, he’s going through a suicide montage and losing his mind. The balance of this movie is perfect!
Groundhog Day definitely stands the test of time. It’s the kind of movie you can watch time and time again without getting tired of it. If you still haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend checking it out.
If for no other reason than to watch Bill Murray slowly lose his mind.