Director – Harold Ramis
One of my most favorite films – The Groundhog Day is an unforgettable movie. And Bill Murray makes it even more special. He is amazing in this film as always.
There is a superstition around the Groundhog, a squirrel kind of a creature. Depending on whether the Groundhog after appearing from its burrow, goes back in or comes out, people can predict whether the winter will continue for longer than 6 weeks or end within six weeks. The Groundhog Day is celebrated in USA and Canada on Feb 2nd every year.
In the movie, Bill plays the role of a television reporter who is frustrated about having to cover the celebrations of Groundhog day year after year. But this year something unusual happens. Every day he gets up in the morning, it is Groundhog day again. It seems that his life has become a broken record which has got stuck on the Groundhog day. The same sequence of events unfold every single day. And only he seems to be aware of it. He gets so bored of his repeating life that he even tries to end it but unsuccessfully. He again wakes up to the Groundhog day.
In a funny manner, the film draws our attention to how repetitive our own life is – Wake up, get ready, go to office, meet the same people, have tea, have lunch, attend meetings with the same decisions again and again, return home, watch TV and go to sleep. And to somebody who is aware of this repetition, it seems the other people are totally unaware because they seem to be going about their life as if nothing unusual is happening.
In the film, Bill learns to finally accept the repetitions and starts to take advantage of all the knowledge he has about what happened during the day to impress people with his predictions. But as long as he is giving the same report on the Groundhog day, his life keeps repeating. Finally, one day, he gives a very enthusiastic report on the celebrations and also proposes to his girlfriend. The next day he finds he has broken the loop and moved on to the next day.
To me this is highly symbolic. If you do not do anything to change your life, your life will keep repeating as usual. And that change is nothing but in your attitude. You can say the same things and do the same things but when you do it consciously, it has a different outcome.
Another story that follows a similar theme is P D Ouspensky’s The Strange Life of Ivan Osokin. In this story, Ivan gets a chance to live his life again with all the memories of his first life available to him. Armed with this knowledge, Ivan thinks that he will be able to correct all the mistakes he made in his previous innings. But that does not happen. Despite knowing everything, he still takes the same decisions and actions and makes the same mistakes again. This goes to show that it is not easy to change oneself so easily. All our actions follow mechanically from the environment we live in.