Groundhog Day The Movie, Buddhism and Me

Ryan Gilbey Book

The University of California/British Film Institute has published a Groundhog Day book, by Ryan Gilbey.

Part of a series of critical studies of important films (Thelma and Louise, Eyes Wide Shut, Titanic), this 88-page essay is an exhaustive and thoughtful examination of the movie, from script and conception through production and societal impact. It is not quite as accessible as this website (which, I regret to say, is not among the 111 footnotes), nor can it be updated as easily, but it is dead-tree media, so of course, it carries more authority.

You can find a review here.

  • [page 11] As the New Statesman noted, it "appeals at once to absolute idealism and absolute cynicism." Depending on the eye of the beholder, this particular glass can appear half-full or half-empty -- brimming over with the milk of human kindness, or shattered to pieces on the floor. It's a kind of miracle that neither interpretation ever fully negates the other.
  • This above all else is what makes it rewarding to keep returning to Groundhog Day. It’s a gorgeous irony that this film, about a man doomed to live one day for eternity, is anything but predictable. The absence of explanation [of what caused the time loop]… has actually preserved the film’s enigma and increased its allure…
  • It would be hard now to express an adequate degree of gratitude that these [explanations] were jettisoned… Groundhog Day is a film that dares to withhold…
  • [page 86; quoting Gilbert Adair, London newspaper Independent on Sunday, 19 March 2000, review section, p. 3] [Groundhog Day] is the progenitor of "avant-garde lite," a sub-genre that he argued would also include Being John Malkovich (1999) and The Truman Show
  • [page 88] The movie also represents an unpolluted instance of pure cinema. That term is traditionally applied to a picture that boasts eye-popping effects or humbling landscapes. There’s none of that here. The irony of John Bailey’s cinematography as that it fully achieves its ambition for each shot to register merely as another flat moment in the same unremarkable day. But Groundhog Day could not be rendered in any other medium. Ramis and Rubin tell their story with the camera: all the necessary information is contained in the movement or duration of a shot; in how it is juxtaposed with its neighboring images, in its relationship to shots we have already seen or are about to see. It’s a film that teaches us how to watch films…
  • …the film, with its inherent repetitions, seems to grow with each viewing, yielding fresh meanings and questions that sprout off from it like new shoots. The experience if returning repeatedly to Groundhog Day proves finally to be no kind of Groundhog Day at all."

Back to the home page of Groundhog Day The Movie, Buddhism and Me

The simplified URL for this site is:

Other material. This is a chronological "blog" of new Groundhog Day material as it accumulates; much of it once resided on the home page, but that page had become too large.

Commentary from Prof. Franz Metcalf, (, author of Just Add Buddha and Buddha in your Backpack

The name Ned Ryerson

New York Times Feature Story on Groundhog Day, The Movie

Boston Globe Anniversary Appreciation

French (Jaques Brel) in the restaurant and Walter Scott (The Wretch) in the Diner

Paul Schindler's Blog Comments On Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day Links and Metalinks

Groundhog Day Script Writer Danny Rubin

Groundhog Day Star Bill Murray

Groundhog Day Director Harold Ramis

New Yorker Profile of Groundhog Day Director Harold Ramis

Groundhog Day essay in Stephen Simon's book, The Force Is With You: Mystical Movie Messages That Inspire Our Lives

Groundhog Day essay by Mario Sesti in the Museum of Modern Art catalog for, The Hidden God: Film and Faith

Groundhog Day by Ryan Gilbey, published by the British Film Institute and the University of California Press.

The Italian remake of Groundhog Day .

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