I know I’m not alone when I say this day of the year always reminds me of the movie classic starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell.




And I also know I’m about to get pelted with cyber rotten tomatoes when I say, while I do like the movie, the writer in me hates the major flaw that ruins it for me every single time.

That flaw? The lack of growth in Andie’s character, Rita.

Before you hurl that piece of fruit, take a sec to think about it. People have spent years figuring out how long that one day actually was for Bill’s character, Phil Connors. Creator Harold Ramis intended it to last about ten years, but the current consensus is thirty-four years.

But for Rita, it’s just one day. She starts out at the beginning of the movie, barely able to tolerate him, convinced he’s an egotistical jerk because…well, let’s face it…he is! One day later (in her world), he’s bought her coffee, she sees him at a town dance where he quotes a bit of French poetry (remember, she’s not with him when he saves the homeless man or stops the mayor from choking, or helps the ladies with their flat tire–though those ladies do regale her about what a great man he is), he plays the piano, gives a newlywed couple tickets to Wrestlemania, and all of a sudden she’s paying all the money in her checkbook for a date with him (where he creates a nice ice sculpture of her). Fast forward, they’ve spent the night together, and she’s madly in love. Huh? What happened?

What’s worse is that many of his changes in regards to her are about manipulation. He doesn’t always say a prayer and drink to world peace; he says that because it will get her to stick around. There’s no evidence he suddenly loves French poetry; he uses it to seduce her. 

Yes, the movie’s a fantasy and yes, I know I have to suspend some credibility to make it work, but dang! That’s a whole lotta character credibility to suspend. So, in this age of remakes, if anyone ever decides to redo Groundhog Day, could we include some kind of growth arc for Rita?

What are your thoughts? Or tell me what movie most people love you don’t get and why?


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