“Groundhog Day” film tells the story of Phil Connors, a reporter who finds himself trapped to relive the same day over and over again. In the beginning, the main character is a cruel, selfish, self-centered human, unhappy to all, while in the end, after being revived hundreds of times the same day, Phil has managed to become a stronger and happier person. The film shows how difficult, yet necessary, it is to live entirely in the present moment, to make positive connections with others, and to embark fearlessly on new opportunities.In the bowling alley, Phil had already accepted the situation and was looking for a solution by asking the two local drunks: “What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same and nothing that you did mattered?” (“Groundhog Day”). Reply of his fellow companion (“That about sums it up for me”) means that it corresponds with his current condition and he recognizes himself from the description. Basically, he knows the feeling “you have been here before” and existential despair from lack of change in his own life. Therefore, the time loop captured the main character can be perceived as a metaphor of self-isolation and refusal to new opportunities or experiences, which in its turn resulted in living the same way. This reply can be related to common situation when an individual rejects change and fails to evolve as a person.
Near the end of the film, when delivering his touching speech in front of the crowd, Phil spoke of living in this winter with the people of Punxsutawney forever as the best possible fate. His words on perception of a winter mean that he had found his current condition not only satisfactory, but even desirable, and while still being forced to external limitations of the single day he had managed to overcome his personal limitations. Eventually, he realized that the time loop, which returns him back to the same day over and over again, is a gift to become a much better person. Living the long never-ending winter, among the amazingly open-hearted people of Punxsutawney he had an opportunity to correct his faults and find beauty in the moment. Therefore, his speech is supposed to deliver his newly discovered engagement with life and people to the crowd and the film audience.
Between these two moments, we can see the major character development as he started to enjoy his single day helping the townspeople, gaining new skills and courting the love of his life. Phil Connors became being generous, upbeat and employed his power with the time loop to gain new skills, for example, ice sculpting or playing piano. Comparing these two scenes, change in the mindset of the character becomes even more explicit. In the conversation with the two local drunks, Phil was looking for sympathy and trying to escape the situation he entrapped, while in the second scene he reaffirmed his satisfaction with where he was, whom he was interacted and what activities fulfilled his life. The character of Phil Connors started off as an ego-centric arrogant individual being stuck in an undesirable situation, and made a journey to the person admired by everybody and happy with his life. He genuinely had changed and managed to live his day fully and with a total acceptance, which released him from the time loop.
Groundhog Day. Directed by Harold Ramis, performances by Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. Columbia Pictures, 1993.