Disney and Pixar have built their legacies on quality animated
Feb 2nd is Groundhog Day… Again! The time-warp-love-plot has been interpreted as being about: Buddhism, Love, Therapy, Life, Christianity, Judaism and Philosophy. Bill Murray’s grumpy weatherman lives the same day over and over. He resists, abuses and finally uses the extra time to become an expert pianist, ice sculptor and French poet to win Rita’s heart. But even on set the movie’s meaning was in dispute – reportedly Murray and the director fell out and haven’t spoken since. So what are the various theories?
Some have interpreted the movie as being about reincarnation. He effectively lives multiple lives in one day – the Buddhist concept of samsara. The movie also shows the different ways you can use each moment and how each action has a different consequence – the Buddhist concept of karma.
The director has said that Freudian analysts have told him that they believe the movie shows psychoanalysis. They see the way he is forced to live the same day over and over as a process of therapy. To them, it reflects our lives where we also live the same patterns over and over until we can recognize and break free from them.
Blogger Jim Ciscell has suggested Connors is actually in Purgatory, stuck between heaven and hell according to Catholic doctrine. In this interpretation, his choices and actions are the only way to determine the ultimate fate of his soul.
4. Judaic Interpretation
Rabbi Niles Goldstein has noted that the movie shows the Judaic theme that good deeds beget good deeds. As Connors performs more mitzvahs; ‘The movie tells us, as Judaism does, that the work doesn’t end until the world has been perfected.’
5. About Real Life
The director noted that the film is also an accurate comment on real life. Every day can feel like living the same day over and over. Every day is the same, we wake up, we go to work, we come home, we eat, and then we sleep. Although each day is repetitive, we can deal with it by accepting it and then doing what we can to bring meaning within these boundaries.
6. About Love
The film has also been interpreted to be a comment on the various approaches to seduction and love. At first Connors uses the extra time to learn about Rita and then to seduce her by manipulating her with his knowledge of her favorite things, her hopes and dreams. But he fails and she tells him: “I could never love someone like you, Phil, because you’ll never love anyone but yourself.” He replies, “That’s not true, I don’t even like myself.” Eventually, he stops trying to play her and is simply himself, which is when she falls for him.