his long loafer’s body, surprisingly strong in the calves and forearms—somewhere behind his navel is the hidden fulcrum of the universe.
[T]he two discussed the possibility of an external cause for Phil’s predicament—a magical clockmaker, maybe, or a gypsy’s curse. In the end, however, they thought it best to leave the recurrence of Groundhog Day unexplained. This was a profound creative decision.
I was impressed. I was moved. It looked like they'd stumbled onto a gem of a premise, and then they had enough filmmaking skill to bring out its full potential.
A couple people on the bus south afterward were bad-mouthing it. We got to talking about it. They'd been expecting the usual Bill Murray comedy and got bored. I said I thought the idea was great, that it was actually a deep story, and that it had a very positive message, because of Murray's evolution of personality. I got off the bus feeling frustrated that I hadn't expressed myself better.
The movie made the claim that people given both security and freedom eventually settle on doing good works, being pleasant, and exploring cultural activities as the way they want to live. I think the power of the premise comes from its creation of an extreme situation of freedom (Murray could do anything possible without any fear of consequences) and security (he knew he'd always be safe and always get another chance), two things people have been striving to get more of since Day One. And the filmmakers competently followed up all the plausible possibilities, fully enough to satisfy me but not dragging it out too long and boring me. I'd put it way up there on my list of good movies.
"The concept of a person repeating the same period of time over and over and over is so brilliant, I'm surprised it wasn't used (successfully) again. Daybreak couldn't sustain the premise week-to-week, despite an interesting start; can't think of any others?"
The most interesting part of Groundhog Day is a throwaway scene after Murray's character drives the stolen pickup truck (with Phil) off the cliff in the open-pit mine: we're shown his coworkers from the TV station identifying his body.
This is a fascinating scene because it's the only indication we're given in the movie that time passes independently of whether Murray's character is there to experience it or not.
I've always wondered about that scene and what the directorial intent was, because it's the only time in the movie when we are given knowledge of Murray's character's condition that the character himself doesn't have.
Groundhog Day -- Andie MacDowell Had Sex With an Ageless God
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