Films

Groundhog Day

Michael Faust reviews this film in the light of eternity.

Is Groundhog Day one of the great philosophical movies? Viewed on the most trivial level it’s just another Hollywood rom-com, but on closer inspection it furnishes a dazzling treatment of Nietzsche’s concept of eternal recurrence, even illuminating Deleuze and Irigaray’s conflicting interpretations of this key Nietzschean idea. It also throws light on postmodern thinking regarding simulacra – representations without originals. Finally, it updates the ancient Greek myth of Sisyphus, casting its protagonist, played by Bill Murray, in the role of Sisyphus, the absurd hero.

Eternal recurrence is Nietzsche’s idea that we have lived the exact life we are living now an infinite number of times in the past, and will do so an infinite number of times in the future. If we’ve enjoyed a particularly eventful and pleasurable life, this might sound like the greatest of tidings.

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