According to Rick Warren "Transformation is a process and as life happens there are tons of ups and down. It's a journey of discovery - there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair." Life is a happiness and sadness journey as brought out by the film Groundhog Day (1993), a comedy directed by Harold Ramis and starred by Phil Connors (Bill Murray). Phil Connors is an unbearable and cynical journalist, and a TV weatherman, who goes in a small town in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania yearly to make reports on "February 2nd Groundhog Day", which meant the spring's beginning. However, he is unlucky as a result of the bad weather thus he is compelled alongside his crew to spend the night at the workplace. The bad weather delays Phil in Punxsutawney, consequently falling victim to a time loop that is inexplicable forcing him to make an indefinite relive of the Groundhog Day (Friend). At first, he takes advantage of the situation, though later realizes that he is grounded in the same place for the rest of his life; seeing the same people and the same things every day. Through the self-indulge in seeking activities of pleasure, he makes an attempt to seduce and befriend Rita, the producer, although he fails (Buncombe). The play further brings out Phil Connors as an arrogant, egotistical and self-centered weatherman (Pholey). He has much belief and high attributes towards himself as the most talented person in his office. The characters such as the town, pop and the Rita play a significant role in the film through the impression on Phil. As a result, they contribute significantly to the transformation of Phil. Therefore, the characters of the town pop and Rita have an effective role in the play, by affecting the life of Phil in several ways.
Pops positively impact Phil by making him realize that it is the little things that count and that he should control life itself. Each and every time Phil was compelled to run since it is that same life of negativity that was repeating itself over and over even though he lived a life of eternal return. He takes a look at his watch and as soon as he runs to save pop from dying, he catches the little boy who was trying to climb a tree but fell (Gilbey). The old man was, however, the first one to catch the attention of Phil and he decided to assist from his own will and not for entertainment. If Phil did not save the boy, the boy would have died and vice versa. However, in this instance, the boy only breaks his leg as seen in a scene where Phil presents himself to the hospital. Pop lets Phil understand the meaning of life even though the little boy is in a wheelchair after the accident whereas pop, probably at the same time died in the same hospital. He is glazed and tries to find out the reason for switching his attention to Pop. He does like to save the ungrateful kid but just does it while letting the old homeless man die at the hospital. He would assist him years later but the kid was not thankful. In doing this, he links the various ambitions that he has with what is available to him instead of just thinking of achieving the unattainable (Skweres 25). Through the event, Phil realizes that there is a chance to survive and that to heal. He would have let the boy get hurt by letting him fall since there has not been any gratefulness exhibited by the kid. This is evident when he says, "What do you say? What do you say? You little brat! You have never thanked me! See you tomorrow! Maybe!" (Gilbey). This would have meant that he would see him the next day and let him just die. He could save the boy, probably, but not every time. However, for Pop, he gave some huge amounts of cash and asked to meet him at the same place the next day. Besides monetary help, he would have taken him to the hospital an event earlier than expected and he believed that there was a chance for survival even though the nurses insisted that it was his time. However, even after realizing that he should just keep hold of life, he would stare at Pop dying in his hands without anything more to do. Even though, he did realize that he should assist the people of Punxatawney just as he did to the kid.
The rejection Rita makes on Phil creates a positive impact on him since he realizes that everyone in the world is important besides just Rita. In his attempt to self-indulge in pleasure-seeking actions, Phil seduces his producer Rita but nothing works out. As a result, he tries to commit suicide only to find out that it cannot work for him. All this seduction comes in handy because of his desire to have sex with her. However, Rita, even though confesses to have been trapped in a time loop of her own, notes his knowledge and trends in communication regarding her desires and impressions (Cormier). Phil's anxiety causes her to slap him a couple of times to make him realize his actions. His overanxiety also makes Rita feel some suspicion about him just as she doubts him. She tends to understand what Phil wants hence, does not encourage it, causing a negative impact on Phil. What Phil did not understand is that there is no payment accompanying overanxiety since the other party may easily realize it and stop one from getting whatever they desire from them naturally. It is at this point that Rita tends to back away from the advancing friendship they had as early as possible (Friend). Phil's pleasure-seeking actions, he focuses on his needs when he says, "I cannot stay at this hotel" at the instance where Rita assists cameraman Larry to unload stuff from a car (Anders). This instance makes Rita take note of the self-absorbent actions of Phil. Even though he later realizes his wrong actions and grabs them a coffee, Rita realizes the new gesture that Phil presents and understands that it is all a plan to have her. Various conversations make her see his transformation and appreciation of little things in another person especially when he talks to her of the things he likes. Phil laughs at her statements when she says that she studied in the 19th century French Poetry but later shows appreciation for the choice of poetry. At this instance, Rita realizes that just like anybody else would do, Phil agreed, cooperated and understood her little things. Phil did not understand, however, that there was a difference with seduction and impression as the little interests he started showing Rita led to impression rather than seduction hence, complicating his needs. It is for this reason that he starts assisting people in the small town. He realizes that he should have been humble and friendly way since the beginning when he was interested in Rita instead of the welfare of other people. The positive impacts included putting the happiness of people ahead of his interests and hence, create many friends. As a result, he becomes so popular in a way that he creates a new life for himself. Everything turns in positive when people talk about Phil in front of Rita instead of the other way round when Phil wanted to talk about himself to his producer. The positive impacts make people, including Rita; realize that it is not about him but about the interests of the needs of the community.
Phil Connors, the Pittsburgh TV weatherman, is stranded in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, a small town in his endeavor in coverage of the yearly groundhog emergence, which is believed by the locals to be a weather predictor (Waxman). He gets trapped as a result of the snow blizzard unexpected. He has to deal with the daily hash winter, himself alongside the people in the town. In mind that he is grounded in the small town, he is more confused, becomes reckless with his life and eventually attempts suicide (Figueroa). He hates the small town as much as he secretly hates himself. As a result, he starts irresponsible behaviors that jeopardize his life such as one-night stand, binge drinking and driving recklessly. Later on, while at the small town, his attitude changes and let go his ego. He decides to be selfless and gets the desire to be of service to all. While in the town, he resolves to be selfless and do the right things, thus embraces positivity as the right path (Cellonia). He starts being less violent and practices recommendable values. In contrast to the beginning of the play where he portrays a careless attitude to all people, he later realizes the importance of life. This is evident when he saves a homeless person, preventing his death. The small town plays a transformative role when he takes a deep and hard look at himself, making the decision of the kind of person he would like to be and how to live every day, regardless there was no change as it was the same day all through. His decisions are positive when he chooses to be of help to the neighbors. In addition to this, he makes resolutions on ice sculptures making, playing piano and French-speaking while he is in the small village. Later, the full contentment of his life is realized at the end of the movie.
The play Groundhog Day can be considered as a self-improvement allegory, making emphasis on that happiness is achieved by foregoing your needs to fulfill others, one's desires that are selfish (Wakeman). Jonah Goldberg argues that Phil undergoes through a hell of his own version, although he is not as bad as the situation seems, from where he comes to his realization by foregoing his selfishness and being a love ambassador by helping the needy (Goldberg). The small town and Rita are some of the positive changes (Fish). The talk with Rita provides a basis for his life changes and resolutions towards a better life. This is a gradual transformation that happens. Phil's interaction with Rita, the small town, and pop facilitate both positive and negative impacts that he encounters in his life, therefore playing a significant role in the changes experienced in his life.
Anders, Charlie Jane, "Let's Do The Time Loop Again. And Again..." 2009, 7
Buncombe, Andrew. "Is this the greatest story ever told?". The Independent. London: isgodimaginary.com, 2004
Cellonia. "Why Did Bill Murray Keep Going Back in Groundhog Day?", 2012
Cormier, Roger. "16 Repeatable Facts About 'Groundhog Day'". Mental Floss, 2016.
Figueroa, Dariel. "The Story Behind Bill Murray And Harold Ramis' 21 Year Rift". Uproxx, 2014
Fish, Stanley. "The 10 Best American Movies". The New York Times, 2009
Friend, Tad. "Comedy First". The New Yorker, 2004
Gilbey, Ryan. Groundhog Day (BFI Modern Classics). British Film Institute, 2005, pp. 44-5.
Gilbey, Ryan. "Groundhog Day." BFI, 2004.
Goldberg, Jonah. A Movie for All Time: National Review, 2016
Groundhog Day. MidniteTicket.com, 2016
Pholey, Michael. "Phil's Shadow". Touchstone, 200417 (3),
Skweres, Artur. Homo Ludens As a Comic Character in Selected American Films. New York [etc]: Springer, 2016. Print.
Wakeman, Gregory. "How Groundhog Day Ruined Bill Murray and Harold Ramis' Partnership", 2015
Waxman, Olivia. "The Surprising Way Groundhog Day Changed the Town of Punxsutawney". Time, 2017
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