Since its release in 1993, “Groundhog Day” has inspired countless films with its iconic premise. In 2017, “Happy Death Day” remixed it with a horror twist and just last year “Palm Springs” blew us away with its take on the trope. However, there is nothing quite like the original.
“Groundhog Day” perfectly executes the endless time loop premise because it allows for organic character change. Every main character must have a flaw and over the course of the film they will hopefully grow and overcome that flaw. “Groundhog Day” symbolizes this by ending the time loop.
As long as Phil (Bill Murray) continues to self centered he will relive Groundhog Day forever. Phil is doomed to a lifetime of misery, that only he is aware of, until he becomes selfless.
Initially, Phil resists the forceable nature of the plot. He realizes his life has no consequences and lives out his wildest fantasies. As Phil continues to try to outsmart the premise, the premise outsmarts him. Thus, forcing Phil down a path of organic character change, without breaking the films own logic.
For a further deep dive into what makes “Groundhog Day” so great, check out the video above from Lessons From the Screenplay.