Groundhog Day is one of the best comedies ever made, a clever, heartfelt romance with a surprisingly robust philosophical backbone. Harold Ramis and Bill Murray’s movie tells the story of a weatherman, Phil Connors, who, while covering the fabled Punxsutawney groundhog, relives the same day over and over again until he achieves what you could describe as a personal zen. It’s inspired no shortage of investigations into the amount of time Phil spends in the time loop, as well as fan edits and philosophical musings. What nobody’s really done, however, is divorce the film from Phil’s supernatural journey and ask what the whole thing looks like for the supporting characters.
Andie MacDowell’s Rita, for example, meets Phil on the eve of Groundhog Day. Their first encounter—a long car ride to Punxsutawney—confronts her with an egotistical jerk with no desire for acquaintanceship. But, since the next day unfolds countless times, we watch her and Phil get to know each other in sequences that run the gamut from cute to cruel to genuinely romantic. For Phil, their love story is believable because, over the course of those many, many days, she changes him for the better.
But Rita doesn’t remember those days. She remembers the one that breaks the loop, the one that epitomizes Phil’s transformation from nihilistic jerk to empathetic do-gooder. So, what does that day really look like for her? A new, recut version of the film that filters the events through Rita’s POV, and, well, it’s a bit of a stretch to say she’d be as smitten with Phil as he obviously is with her, especially considering the pair only spend a grand total of maybe a few hours together. Nobody would’ve blamed her for fleeing in terror after the dude carves her face into ice, tells her he loves her and declares the two should shack up in Punxsutawney. Sure, he’s been building to this for years; Rita, on the other hand...
Watch the recut version above and, as one should do every time time they revisit this flick, enjoy the sight of baby Michael Shannon screaming about Wrestlemania.