Groundhog Day

In The Atlantic magazine a few months ago James Parker wrote a beautiful essay, "Reliving Groundhog Day." The subtitle-summary says, "On the 20th anniversary of the beloved Bill Murray comedy, it's time to recognize it as a profound work of contemporary metaphysics." Maybe he's right. Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin, writers of Groundhog Day, certainly came up with something fantastical, which the actors (Murray, Andie MacDowell, et al.) and director (Ramis) and collaborators made real. It's a Kafkaesque story of Phil, a TV weatherman, stuck in a loop, starting the same day over and over again, with no exit ... until he stops scheming and clinging and just is. Parker concludes:

But Phil learns. He learns contentment, and he learns forgiveness, and he learns kindness. He sits in the Punxsutawney diner, happily reading—but he's not just reading, he's radiating Buddha-nature. It's all expressed in the trajectory of his relationship with Rita. He wants her, he tries to seduce her—first with meanness, then by fraud, then with recitations of French poetry and engineered perfect moments. It is only when he gives up, when he accepts the blessing of her company, free from desire—at which point she, too, magically becomes a far more interesting character—that she is delivered into his arms. Oh, it deepens with every encounter, this movie. I watched Groundhog Day twice while writing this column. I think I need to watch it again.

(cf Practice of Contentment (2021-09-18), ...) - ^z - 2013-06-19