It’s been tradition as long as Brian and I have been together that we watch the movie Groundhog Day on Groundhog Day. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, anniversaries . . . we don’t make a big deal of those, but Groundhog Day is set in stone!
This time around, I watched it with a bit of a metaphysical eye. What could I learn from watching it this time? There are definitely some metaphysical themes in there:
- The most obvious is the reincarnation and karmic journey that Phil experiences. Phil begins the movie as an immature, selfish soul who does not give to others nor seem to care for anyone. By the end of the movie Phil has done a complete 180, spending his entire day giving to others.
- Phil learns the value of discipline. Phil first learns this through his repeated attempts to woo Rita. He later learns more valuable and creative uses of discipline: piano, french, literature, ice sculptures etc
- Phil experiences change through death. In the middle of the movie a heartwarming set of interactions occur between Phil and an elderly homeless gentleman. Phil begins to care for this man, but the gentleman dies in every repeat of the day, no matter what Phil does for him. Phil struggles with his powerlessness, even as the nurse tells him: “Sometimes people just die.” Yet, through this experience, Phil himself has “died” to his old self, regaining control of himself and becoming reborn. Phil also literally dies over and over and over again. Death is Phil’s 4th stage out of these five 1) denial of the Groundhog Day experience 2) rebelliousness/anarchy 3) insincere love/lust 4) suicide 5) service and life purpose/true love After Phil goes through the first three, he begins to despair. Coming out of death in the fourth stage, he finally begins to change and life takes on an entirely new perspective for him.
- Phil learns the importance of truth and true love. In Phil’s third stage Phil begins to acknowledge his feelings for Rita and decides to act on them. He attempts to use his time and experience to his advantage to learn everything he can about Rita and create a faux romance. But Rita eventually catches onto him, and — try as he might, –Phil is unable to fashion his perfect happily ever after one-night stand. When Phil begins to work on himself and then build his relationships with others, he unintentionally attracts Rita. The true Phil turned out to be exactly what Rita was looking for all along.
- Phil connects with his true self. Phil’s love for Rita is what gives him the motivation to fully change. He sees her as an “ange”l; she is everything that he is not: kind, generous, and loving. She is the yin, and he is the yang, just as the conscious and subconscious belong together. By tapping into her love and giving nature, his beautiful soul finally emerges.
As I reflect on these points, I realize I love this movie all the more! It ranks up there for me now with It’s a Wonderful Life, a budding Christmas movie tradition that also focuses on the value of the soul and the importance of service to humanity. What other movies can I add to my list?
What are your favorite holiday movie traditions?