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Parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Groundhog Day is a 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray as a smug and selfish weatherman who must live through the same day over and over again until he learns the value of caring about others. Though on the whole a lighthearted comedy, this movie also deals with depression, and Phil undertakes a series of suicide attempts. Characters drink at bars, and in a scene in which three characters are shown getting drunk in a bowling alley, one of the characters attempts to drive a car while clearly drunk. Phil then drives the car, and he realizes he can drive as recklessly as he wants because he's just going to start over repeating the same day as if nothing happened.
What's the story?
Cranky TV broadcaster Phil (Bill Murray) and his crew are sent to tiny Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to capture the "thrills" of its annual GROUNDHOG DAY celebration. A snowstorm strands them there overnight, and when he wakes up the next morning, Phil soon realizes that something strange is going on: It's Groundhog Day again. As Phil repeatedly relives the tedium of the same day over and over, he gradually learns to treat people decently. He also falls for producer Rita (Andie MacDowell), working every angle to figure out how to seduce her. Each defeat means a little more information -- and gets him a little closer to winning her over the next time around.
Is it any good?
Bill Murray shines in this good-natured comedy that delivers lots of laughs and some honest sentiment. Funny and uncommonly sweet, Groundhog Day has just the right blend of comedy and romance. Bill Murray is hilarious in his usual role as the detached wiseacre. Remarkably, the movie manages the almost impossible task of making us care about this sarcastic man.
The story is simple but clever and uses repetition to great effect. Director Harold Ramis also uses sound and music to great comic effect. Phil wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. to the ironically cheery Sonny and Cher song "I Got You Babe."
Talk to your kids about ...
How are the movie's overall themes presented in action, dialogue, and story?
Bill Murray plays the lead character in this movie. How is the character he plays similar to other characters he has played in other movies? How is the character different?
- In theaters: February 12, 1993
- On DVD or streaming: January 20, 1998
- Cast: Andie MacDowell, Bill Murray, Chris Elliott
- Director: Harold Ramis
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Comedy
- Character strengths: Gratitude, Perseverance
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some thematic elements.
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