‘Groundhog Day’ is a comedy about a very spiritual thing – the idea of really living here and now. Phil has to relive the same day until he finally learns how to just enjoy it.
‘What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today’ – says Phil. He wakes up the same day every day. There is no tomorrow for him, just today. At first he thinks that nothing he does matters so he decides there are no rules anymore, no consequences. So he starts sleeping around with all the ladies in town, one by one, even though he really likes his producer Rita. He lies to them and uses their naiveté against them. He steals money and spends it like there is no tomorrow. Because for him there isn’t. At some point he asks Rita what she would do if the world was about to end.
He starts working on her but he uses his old tricks and they don’t work on her. It worked on other women but Rita is different. She knows we might meet somebody who says to us all the right things, everything that we want to hear. It seems that they understand us completely and mutual understanding is very important. But if their words are not followed by their actions, they are worthless. It’s only when people put what’s being said into action, then it really matters. When nothing works, Phil finally gives up and gets depressed. He stops chasing Rita.
He steals the groundhog and tries to kill it and also himself, in multiple ways. He thinks that will break the cycle and set him free but it doesn’t. Then he decides he is a god because he can’t die and feels immortal. Finally, after spending another day with Rita, he realizes: ‘I don’t deserve someone like you’. And he decides to change. He invests in himself, changes into a better version of himself and only then Rita becomes interested in him. She could feel before that what he was saying was just words. Just like now she can feel that he became a man of his word.
So finally he starts being good. And he starts enjoying life. As she told him she would do if she was stuck in a time loop. He takes piano lessons. He starts really caring about others, unconditionally. Without counting on a reward or anything in return. He is finally happy here and now. He has really spent some time getting to know Rita and fell in love with her. His words did not do the trick but his good deeds finally did because actions are louder than words.
We are also immortal and even though we do not relive the same day, but various lives, we are also supposed to learn from our mistakes, understand how to unconditionally love and how to enjoy the present moment. And only then can we finally break the cycle of reincarnation.