Cinemaster Score: 9/10
This stands as one of the very best Bill Murray movies out there, with a great mixture of dark and light comedy that is sure to entertain anyone who watches it. Groundhog Day has an excellent script, well-developed scenes and characters, and a unique message wrapped in an original plot. Each character is given satisfying arcs and memorable moments that add greatly to the charm of this film. It is very hard to find something wrong with Groundhog Day other than some minor detraction; side characters could have been a little more fleshed out and the actors chosen could have had more recognizable names. Other than that, it is easy to see why this movie is still talked about today – thanks to it’s refreshing originality and great use of its characters. A perfect comedy with a unique twist, Groundhog Day is a great experience.
Acting; The casting decisions for this film are fairly humble and fittingly so. Groundhog Day lacks the big name movie stars many films strive to have – but it doesn’t end up making much of a difference. The actors that are in Groundhog Day all put on fairly good performances. They make their characters feel real and genuine. But outside of the lesser known (but good) actors – Groundhog Day has Bill Murray. Murray has an astounding performance in Groundhog Day. While he may play an average Joe, the way Murray portrays a slow change in emotions as his character develops is outstanding. Murray has his usual classic touch of casualness similar to in Ghostbusters. Even though the actors aren’t all proclaimed greats, Groundhog Day has acting that – for its story material – is perfect.
Script; Groundhog Day has a perfect script, as it provides organic situations for Bill Murray to change his ways and expand his character. Every character has quotable and hilarious lines that make the film highly rewatchable and entertaining. Groundhog Day uses this dialogue to enhance the extreme charm and likeability of this movie. But what’s most impressive is the script’s ability to excellently transition from heartfelt scenes to comedic moments, and allows for a more fulfilling viewing experience. In those heartfelt scenes the screenplay is top-notch, with truly relatable and unforgettable moments. The comedy, as well, is very effective. Even when traveling into slapstick territory, Groundhog Day manages to inject some originality in these scenes throughout. Groundhog Day is one of the very best written comedies out there.
Characters; The characters in Groundhog Day are very okay – and not much more. Besides our main protagonist (Phil) and his unrequited love (Rita), there aren’t very many others who stand out. The townspeople do have some nice comedic lines and do feel especially realistic. Yet – even with the most minor characters – Groundhog Day is able to fully develop each of them thoroughly. These little impacts assure that all of Phil’s little decisions do matter and shows the audience a different view on life and how we act. Rita and Phil though, are very intriguing. Both are very emotionally involved in each other and make Groundhog Day a film you will care about after you watch it. The way Phil’s character is explored – psychologically even – is fantastic. It’s hard to imagine a better fit of personalities for this movie.
Direction; Harold Ramis has an excellent synergy between the direction of his characters and the script of Groundhog Day, as he was responsible for writing and directing the film. Ramis has a great understanding of Bill Murray’s wry comedy, and uses it to good effect throughout. His ability to transition from lighthearted fun to heart-wrenching tragedy is mesmerizing to watch. Ramis proves that he is adept at providing the right emotion for a character to use in any given scene and uses the repetition of Groundhog Day in unique and charming ways. Ramis takes cues from each actors previous films to play to their strengths in interesting ways. Harold Ramis is at his directorial best in Groundhog Day, and it should not be missed.
Story; The most uniquely important and famously known piece of Groundhog Day is its story. The idea of a day on repeat was so original at the time. The concept ended up being so popular as to have a plethora of similar displays in other films (such as Happy Death Day). Looking past the base concept, Groundhog Day still has a solid story. Watching how Phil uses his infinite time and trying to strive towards his final goal is captivating. Each and every little detail grasps the audience’s attention. The amount of big picture foresight used by Phil is incredible, too. By the end of the movie it is easy to realize how breathtaking the attention to detail is in making an interesting concept into an iconic movie.
Enjoyment; Groundhog Day is very entertaining thanks to its strong rewatchability factor and fast paced story. The characters are likeable, the plot is easy to follow, and the film never drags. Nothing overstays its welcome even with the repetitious scenes thanks to some unique twists, and everything is carefully constructed to fit the film’s tone. The tone itself balances its use of comedy and drama well, with nothing feeling out-of-place or filler. If you’re looking for a great time with a movie, watch Groundhog Day and you won’t regret it.
David: “To me, Groundhog Day is an instantly heartfelt classic. It has so many great aspects that make it unique. It also tells a wonderful feel-good story that keeps you hooked well. I loved it from start to finish with Bill Murray’s performance being as excellent as it is. But best of all – and one of the things that are most important to my liking of any film – is that you can feel from it and have new perspectives after it’s over.”
JP: “Groundhog Day is my personal favorite Bill Murray film, and it’s enjoyable from start to finish. It’s great across the board and it’s great for someone looking for a romantic-comedy as well. Everything is so original about Groundhog Day that it feels just as funny as the first time you watch it. It’s one of those movies I can quote randomly throughout my day because it is so iconic. I love almost everything about this movie, and I hope more people can experience it.”