Everyone’s Realizing that ‘Groundhog Day’ is Like Life During Coronavirus
One of Roger Ebert’s greatest lines about movies appeared in his review of Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. “Movies do not change,” he wrote. “but their viewers do.”
There have been fewer better examples of this phenomenon than social media’s renewed obsession with Groundhog Day, Harold Ramis’ ingenious comedy about a cynical weatherman named Phil Connors (Bill Murray) who gets trapped in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on Groundhog Day. For reasons Phil does not understand — and never figures out — he wakes up every morning in his bed in a Punxsutawney B&B. No matter what he does — whether he helps people or becomes a master criminal, whether he seduces a co-worker or tries to save the life of a homeless man — he is trapped. The cycle repeats hundreds of times. Maybe thousands of times.
Groundhog Day was released almost 30 years ago. But there’s barely a day that goes by on Twitter that someone (or lots of someones) doesn’t compare life in the age of coronavirus to Phil’s tragic plight:
It’s easy to see why the film is on people’s minds. Phil’s existence contains a lot of parallels to our coronavirus lifestyles. We’re all stuck in the same place, day after day. We can’t go anywhere. We can’t see anyone outside of the same small circle of folks we interact with every single day. Andie MacDowell hates us. And nothing we do seems to change our circumstances.
But the comparison is even more malleable than that. ESPN’s T.J. Quinn on Twitter noted that the many different Phil Connors in Groundhog Day — as he moves through various stages of frustration, acceptance, and ultimately spiritual enlightenment — represent the many people we can be, even while stuck in our little coronavirus loops.
So rise and shine campers, it’s Groundhog Day! Again. And again. And if you want to watch Groundhog Day and compare it to your own endlessly repetitive corona-existence, it’s currently streaming on Netflix. Remember: Movies don’t change, but viewers do — even if it feels like the world them around them isn’t changing at all.
Gallery — Movies That Went Early to VOD Because of Coronavirus: