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Groundhog Day

January 28, 2012

So, today I went to see “Groundhog Day” and hear from the screenwriter. I’ve seen the movie several times before. But I’ve never specifically watched it as a spiritual wisdom tale. The friend who invited me, Margaret Fletcher, is a meditation teacher and advertised it as a great meditator’s movie. Light bulb moment!

Seen the movie already? Pause and consider it in that light, so you can have your own moment of feeling smart. Haven’t seen it? Well, there’s probably something else you can go do that would be a better use of your time, but if you want to keep reading, the premise of the movie is that Bill Murray is a burnt-out, cynical TV weather man who gets sent to cover Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney. He is horrible to everyone, and gets stuck there in a blizzard. When he wakes up the next day, it’s Groundhog Day all over again. Next day, same thing. He relives the same day over, and over, and over. He gradually learns that he can change the course of the day by changing how he relates to other people. The Hollywood plot is that he uses his growing ability to be empathetic and positive to Get the Girl. But he also gradually sheds his cynicism as he experiences his own power to be an involved, loving, and connected part of the community.

Plus, he gets that opportunity that SO rarely presents itself in real life – the chance to say and do what he wishes he had done if he’d thought about it more the first time. (But not before he experiments with what it would be like to act as if there were no lasting consequences of one’s behavior.)

Now, here I am, three paragraphs in, and I can’t remember where I was heading with this. Anyway, it’s a cheery salvation movie in the bleak midwinter, and I recommend you watch it, again or for the first time, with some popcorn and a friend. I wish I could tell you it’s available as a Watch Instantly movie on Netflix, but alas, it isn’t. But if you put it at the top of your queue, and send back a movie today, it might show up so you can watch in on February 2nd!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2012 10:42 pm

    one of my fav films, dont we all wish we had the time to find out whats important.

    • January 28, 2012 10:58 pm

      Paul, as a blogging dog, which scenes were particularly important for you? I feel sure my dogs would have most enjoyed the scenes with Punxsutawney Phil because of his resemblance to a squirrel, but the cats think the scenes at Gobbler’s Knob with pigeons are the best. Screenwriter Danny Rubin was gratified that today’s audience laughed at the deja vu joke early in the movie, since it was one of the ones he wrote.

      • January 28, 2012 11:47 pm

        Ha, Gobbler’s Knob… Yes I shall give the cats that one. I think the funniest part for me is when he steals the car with Phil on the steering wheel.


  2. January 29, 2012 7:25 am

    It’s interesting to me that Bill Murray appeared in another story of magnificent self realization, Scrooged. It’s a fair modern retelling of A Christmas Carol, a Unitarian story of self realization and self transformation. In some ways Groundhog day is almost more real. Scrooge was transformed in just one night. At least in Groundhog Day Bill had several tries!

  3. February 2, 2012 3:28 am

    Ooo, neat–I’d never thought of it that way!

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