Daniel Holford’s review published on Letterboxd:
Scavenger Hunt 73 - movie 1 | task 3 - a movie featuring snow |
“I'm not going to live by their rules anymore.”
Haven’t actually seen this movie in a few years, but after the recent slew of time loop films, I thought I’d go back and revisit. It’s still a brilliant premise, and fantastically executed. On the outside it might seem like a romantic comedy with the gimmick of a time loop, but it’s really the exploration and contemplation of life and becoming a better person that really is the heart of the story.
The film is simple in its nature, it never tries too hard to focus itself on what it’s trying to say to the audience which is probably why there’s so many interesting themes and interpretations to take away from it. On the surface level it’s fun and charming, with a nice message of becoming a better person and finding love. Then on rewatches you start to fall into the ideas of the stages of grief and loss that are displayed through Phil’s journey. It’s a solid script that deals with so much without the film ever feeling too bogged down in its own messages.
Phil Connors is a brilliantly written character, he feels so well developed and characterised that the audience totally understands every single motivation and meaning behind his actions. He’s initially rather unlikeable, grumpy, cynical and arrogant but still entertaining to watch. As the movie progresses though, we really see the way in which his character develops. The time loop helping him to realise what the world actually offers, and to live each day to the absolute fullest, the character that he becomes at the end feels totally different to what we see at the start, and that progress of development is shown at every step.
It helps that Bill Murray is utterly compelling as Phil. Charming, funny, and so engaging at every moment in the film. The rest of the cast are all great too, Andie MacDowell is perfectly likeable and charming as Rita. The smaller side characters that Phil meets over and over are all brilliant too, their performances really help capture the annoyance and anger that Phil starts to feel as he relives these same interactions over and over again. There’s subtleties to the performances, even if some feel more over the top, that add to the time loop and repetitive nature of each interaction.
It’s very close to five, just perhaps not every single joke or comedic moments quite lands, but it’s still a broadly entertaining film. Never a dull moment in its breezy run time.