The objective of this paper is to explain the psychological view of the movie, Groundhog Day. The main character of the film is Bill Murray and is directed by Harold Ramis and released in 1993. The movie takes place in the small town of Punxsatawney during the winter season. Although the movie has a very powerful message, I did not like it. Phil (Bill Murray), a weather man for an American TV station, is sent to Punxsatawney to cover a local Groundhog Day ceremony. The very skeptical weatherman regretfully accepts the assignment and travel to the town.
Once he makes his report he proceeds to his hotel and goes to bed looking forward to returning home the next day. In an effort to leave the town and any memories relating to the town the weatherman is forced to stay another night due to a snowstorm. After awakening the next morning Phil realizes that it is still Groundhog Day, again and again. After living one day over and over again, Phil meets two drunken guys at a bar. These two guys enlighten Phil on the idea that living the same day over and over would give him a chance to do all the things he ever wanted to do without any consequences.
After days of appalling behavior, Phil finally realizes that even those acts will not take away the terrible reality that he seems to never progress in life. He then tries to kill himself, which does not work either. A dramatic twist in the movie happens during a recurring report. The name of the groundhog (Phil), carved in wood, appeared directly about Phil’s, the weatherman, head. This scene seemed to be showing the fact that the weatherman is living a shadow of himself just as the groundhog. The shadow is a way for Phil to see himself a hopefully make a difference.
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These recurring events bring upon love for Phil and his anchor lady, Rita. He eventually tells her about the returning life events and they decide that she would spend the entire day with him to be an “objective witness”. They fall asleep in bed together; however, the next morning he awakens, it’s still Groundhog Day and Rita is not in bed with him. Beginning to accept the negativity of his life, Phil begins to turn his negative aspects into more positive ones. After accepting his imperfections, Phil was now able to use his imprisoned energy to find a new strength (care and compassion).
He also learns that humans are privileged to be able to improve themselves. The valuable moral of this movie is the journey to awareness. Phil being aware of his imperfections allowed for him to change his behavior, thus move on into a new and more beautiful day. The chapter I think best fits this film is Chapter 10 – Personality. Personality is the complex characteristics that define a person. According to Sigmund Freud, each person has a certain amount of psychological energy that develops into three structures of personality (the id, the ego, and the superego).
The id is unconscious and present at birth and come from two instinctual drives: the life instinct and the death instinct. After discovering his recurring life events, Phil decides to live life to its fullest potential by doing whatever he wanted with the aspect of never having to face any consequences. A while after realizing that his bad actions were getting him no where he decides to try and end his life with numerous attempts including jumping off a tall building. These acts were driven by the pleasure principle which is the motive to obtain pleasure and avoid tension or discomfort.
The ego is party conscious and regulates thoughts and behavior and is most in tune with the demands of the external world. Phil finds ways to satisfy whatever desires he wanted in life. For example, he did not want to be bothered by the insurance agent so he gave the guy and uncomfortable hug to run him away. Another example of Phil’s ego is how he used his knowledge of recurring events to make Rita fall for him. The superego is also partly conscious; however, it’s the internal, parental voice that helps one decipher right from wrong. Superego is more vastly known as your conscience.
Phil’s superego kicks in when he realizes that being self centered was helping him to progress in life. Superego allowed Phil to judge his own behavior and live up to his morals. Although the film posed a very good lesson, I did not like it. If I would have watch the movie for pleasure rather than for a report I probably would have turn it off in the second scene because I saw no real importance of the recurring events. Having someone awake day after day to the same thing was king of mediocre to me. I would have much rather seen a movie that posed the exact same message, yet in a different approach.
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