Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Groundhog Day

*Harold Ramis*1993*101m*

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it...Khayyam

In Groundhog day, the writ of the moving finger is erased day after day, and that is the problem of Phil Connors, a TV weather expert and announcer. He does not have to reap what he sows and that gives him freedom to do whatever he wants, like lunatic car driving and numerous fail-safe suicide attempts.

A Groundhog is a variety of over sized rat, which according to folklore can prognosticate the weather by his behavior on Groundhog Day, February 2, celebrated as a winter carnival. Connors has been sent by his channel to cover this event along with the producer, Rita and Larry the cameraman. He is a sour and disgruntled man who finds everybody and everything around him to be ludicrous and unworthy of his attention and interest, like the enthusiasm and simple warmth of the inhabitants of the small town. He may be witty but he is a pain in the neck of all who come into contact with him, specially his two colleagues from the channel. He just doesn't feel like being a nice guy.

And that is where he gets stuck in a time warp. Rather his calender gets stuck and again and again he wakes up to the same February 2, meets the same people who say and do the same things, like a replay, and he is the only one who knows what is happening. Only his own reaction to the same situation can be different each time. He is driven first to a psychiatrist and then to many fore-doomed attempts to kill himself. Perhaps the plot can be left here.

He extricates himself from the "time loop" by learning to be a better person. Various abstruse spiritual insights have been attributed to the movie but it just extols what may be termed as the simple Christian virtue of caring for others. This is not to minimize the "message".

Bill Murray's sour puss lampooning of everything in the environment, often skidding into slapstick, makes it an enjoyable, wholesome movie, a genre which needs to be more in fashion. It is probably difficult to make a film wholesome and successful at the same time, since our taste buds have been deadened by over-stimulation, so that, as for the hero of this film, we find little joy in the routines of daily life, and need destruction and perversion for their own sake to awaken us from our numbness. The adrenalin fix.
Roger Ebert's review 

1 comment:

Plum said...

Hi there,

I like your review -- I have never seen Groundhog day all the way through. I also agree that we need more wholesome, enjoyable movies with good lessons.

Don't Be a Plum