By Lori Perkins
That headline seems redundant, no?
As I near the start of my third pandemic year (we went into lockdown in early March in NYC), I am preparing for my annual re-watch of the Bill Murray/Andie McDowell classic Groundhog Day, which I started rewatching annually three years ago. It seems like only yesterday…
One of the most amazing things about the movie, for me, is that every time I watch it I see something in it I never saw before.
The first time I rewatched it, I was shocked at how I never saw it as a romance. It even has a Happy Ever After (HEA) ending. I just saw it as the charming but endless repeat of a life poorly lived until Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, got it right.
The next time I rewatched it I suddenly saw the philosophical element to it, and realized it was actually brilliant in its own way. I was amazed at how Phil went through every conceivable way of ending his life and then came out on the positive end. I had somehow completely erased the repeated suicide attempts from my memory. I even did some research and found articles on how Groundhog Day is considered the ultimate Buddhist film, https://livinglifefearless.co/2019/features/scared-of-our-own-shadow-groundhog-day-is-a-sneaky-discourse-on-buddhism/
Last year, I was appalled at the lack of consent between Phil and Rita’s “courtship,” because he basically steals her idea of a perfect man and then feeds it back to her. She almost has no choice but to fall in love with him, but has he really changed or is this just a performance to get the girl? Those thoughts actually kept me up at night.
So I will watch the movie again tonight, and I am pretty certain that this year I’ll see it in a whole new light as I imagine living through lockdown over and over and over again.