Harold Ramis has passed away. Charles Murray offers this advice, rule 34 from his Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: Watch Groundhog Day repeatedly:
Harold Ramis estimates that that the movie has to represent at least thirty or forty years’ worth of days. We see only a few dozen of them, ending when Bill Murray’s character has discovered the secrets of human happiness. Without the slightest bit of preaching, Ramis shows the bumpy, unplanned evolution of his protagonist from a jerk to a fully realized human being — a person who has learned to experience deep and lasting justified satisfaction with life as a whole even though he has only one day to work with.
Ramis’s own understanding of the story he is telling is sophisticated and subtle. That’s why you should watch the film more than once. You are sure to pick up subtexts the second time that you didn’t get the first time. And you’ll see even more when, after giving yourself a rest, you watch it a third time. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched Groundhog Day, but I’ve always seen something new.
Why is it a good thing to understand this movie so well? Because it will help you live a good life. Absorbing the deep meaning of the Nicomachean Ethics will also help you live a good life, but Groundhog Day will do it with a lot less effort.