The feeling of repeating, or even connotations of Déjà vu, truly startle me in my day to day life. Whether I’m waiting for a bus or just reading an article, Déjà vu seems to strike me out of nowhere. How Bill Murray must feel throughout the duration of the 1993 classic Groundhog Day is beyond my comprehension. Pairing Murray with the late Harold Ramis is usually a sure-fire success, and their work together here is by far the best production they ever worked on together. Trumping the likes of Ghostbusters and Caddyshack, Murray’s eccentric leading performance works wonders in Groundhog Day.
Set in the frigid town of Punxsutawny, weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) finds himself living the same day over and over again. He cannot leave the town, each day is identical to the previous, with the only change being the actions and events Connors puts himself through. Growing more and more desperate, Connors searches for the reason he has been trapped in re-living the same day over and over again in a story that sounds more like a pre-technology episode of Black Mirror than of one of the funniest comedies of all time.
Murray always delivers great film performances, but for comedy roles this is by far my favourite. Blending the depressive tones he provided in Lost in Translation with the wry, goofy humour he settles on with Ghostbusters we’re given a fine mix of what Murray can provide us. He’s a talented man, possibly one of my personal favourites when it comes to actors sheerly due to how incredibly consistent he is. Here he portrays some sort of grief process, mixing the five stages of grief into his performance as Connors struggles to adapt to his ever growingly familiar surroundings.
The timing Murray and the rest of the inexplicably talented cast bring to this production is tenfold. Andie MacDowell provides us a great performance as Rita Hanson. A great deal of chemistry between her and Murray brings around a superb number of enjoyable scenes that blend the romantic tensions with the comedic and terrifying setting extremely well. Brought together by director Ramis’ keen eye for comedy, every scene has its purpose; whether the scene is there for hilarity or for plot development, it’s all kept together in tremendous fashion.
What terrifies me greatly is the concept or point that I’m wasting my time. I like to think I’m productive, but considering I stopped writing this review to sit and stare at a bit of wall, productivity may be lacking. Groundhog Day more or less reaffirmed the suspicion I had of being scared of wasting away the hours. I could be doing something productive with my work or social life but instead I’m going to watch Groundhog Day… again. An absolutely stellar early 90s piece, and possibly one of the greatest and well-rounded comedy movies of all time.