I’m intrigued by small towns. Punxsutawney has a population of 5,962 and calls itself the “Weather Capital of the World.” Every year 10,000 to 20,000 people gather and witness Punxsutawney Phil making his winter weather prediction. When this many people gather in a small town, it’s a big occasion. There’s a feeling of superiority that comes from a big town which is entirely misguided as displayed nicely by Phil Connors.
When watching the movie Groundhog Day, you sense that Phil looks at Punxsutawney as beneath him. The people there are simple. The movie does an excellent job indicating the pace and expectations of the people in the script. What I particularly like about this movie is that you don’t know how many times Phil lives this day. What may be a hundred times is more than likely thousands of times. Harold Ramis, the director, indicated he thought Phil spent 10 years trapped and later adjusted his estimate to 30-40 years. It’s crazy to think that as he progressed through his day, does he do the same day the same way until he gets to the furthest point, and tries something new to change the day.
What makes the day end? Gaining skills every day to impress the town folk? Helping others to the point that this should be your main purpose? Having Rita genuinely believe that you’re a better version of you? A great scene in the movie is when Rita knows Phil manipulates her and that doesn’t work which gives Phil the insight that being phony fails. The one theory I saw was the Ned is the devil and Phil signed the contract at the end selling his soul to escape purgatory. Thinking Phil has died and gets stuck in this town is quite intriguing. I like the idea that he needs to live the perfect day and that’s what human achievement in one’s like looks like.