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Groundhog Day

Updated: Jan 14, 2022

One evening a few weeks ago, I noticed that Channel 7 were showing that classic time loop movie- Groundhog Day.

For those who have not seen this film, the plot is simple:

Cynical TV weatherman Phil Connors finds himself reliving the same day over and over again when he goes on location to the town of Punxsutawney to report about their famous groundhog who can predict the weather.

Suddenly Phil finds himself reliving the same day time and time again. He goes through different stages of response to this unlikely event… disbelief, questioning, and he even wonders if he is hallucinating. It is at this point he realises that because the timeline resets every day, none of his bad choices will lead to any consequences.

It can be easy to think that Sci-Fi films are just all about spaceships, lightsabres and the Klingons but what I love about Sci-Fi is its ability to strip away the restrictions of the impossible and in doing that, it can reveal more about human behaviour.

I love to find meaning in films so here is what I think the lessons of Groundhog Day are and why they are important:

1. Don’t give up! Most of us have at some point been trapped in a situation where no matter what we did, we couldn’t disentangle ourselves from the same endless cycle. In the film, Phil soon realises that attempts to ignore, or distract himself from the situation altogether doesn’t solve anything. The lesson is clear: Giving up doesn’t solve the problem.

Change takes time and effort and having a reachable goal is important. Phil decided his goal was to help the people of Punxsutawney day after day. Having this goal gave him hope and hope is powerful. It can encourage us when times are tough.

2. It is good to have people in your life. At the beginning of the film, Phil doesn’t exactly love other people. He goes through life brushing off anyone and having no interest in building or maintaining relationships. But getting trapped in Punxsutawney forces Phil to get to know all the people he’d otherwise ignore. He comes around, even with the ones he especially doesn’t like, such as the famously annoying insurance salesman Ned Ryerson!

Relationships can often help us be better people. Through our acts of kindness and gentleness towards others, it can help us have compassion for ourselves too. My blog on the benefits of friendships can be found here for more insight on this topic.

3. Be Kind. Getting everything he wants starts to become very unsatisfying for Phil as realises that the experiences he has are brief. He decides to help people in need in the community, those he would have ignored previously, to enjoy all he can without any expectations. Phil starts to turn his attention towards the one thing he can change…himself. He becomes a better person just for the sake of being a better person.

Through doing these acts of kindness, he becomes more self-aware and learns that how you react to situations in life is just as important as the situations themselves.

Showing people kindness can be as simple as sending them a message, writing a letter, or buying them their favourite chocolate bar. Ask how they are and let people know how you are feeling too. Being kind to someone doesn’t have to be an elaborate event, it can just be letting someone know you are thinking of them in the moment.

What stands out for me is how the movie portrays an opportunity, not to just be kind to those we know and love, but to be kind to all people just because it is good to be kind. To be able to find meaning in the smallest of spaces, in a world that can be full of uncertainty, it can give us the freedom and ability to be our best selves.

Take the time to show people you care and just how much….again and again and again and again.

Now go on, listen to the Sonny and Cher track “I Got You Babe”… you know you want to…

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