Study Guide

Groundhog Day Rita (Andie MacDowell)

Rita (Andie MacDowell)

Pretty Kind (Pretty and Kind)

The first time we see Rita in this movie, she's playing around with Phil's computer weather screen. Phil thinks she's dumb, but everyone else seems to think,

PHIL: She's really nice.

Phil doesn't really respect niceness in people because he finds it stupid and naïve. But Rita will never give in to his sarcasm and contempt for normal people. When he criticizes the Groundhog Day festival, Rita simply answers,

RITA: It's nice. People like it.

PHIL: You are new, aren't you?

For Phil, life is about getting ahead no matter how many bridges you have to burn along the way. Rita thinks people should just be… nice.

Her Own Person

Don't let Rita's niceness fool you. She is her own person and is totally willing to slap a dude in the face when she feels insulted. When she sits down for dinner with Phil, she lets him know that;

RITA: Believe it or not, I studied 19th Century French poetry.

Phil's first reaction is to think poetry is a total waste of time. But after he realizes this response won't win Rita over, he goes out and learns how to speak French just to impress her.

Rita is no fool though. She eventually sees through Phil's attempts to get her into bed with him. Even after he has learned nearly everything about her, Rita still snaps out of her trance and says,

RITA: This whole day has been one long setup.

She knows that, deep down, Phil is still a selfish person. He's just changed his behavior to make Rita like him. As Rita aptly puts it at one point,

RITA: I could never love someone like you. You only love yourself.

At the end of the day, it'll take more than just a change in Phil's behavior to make Rita love him.

A Good Role Model

Eventually, Phil and the audience both realize that the only way Rita will ever love Phil is if he becomes a genuinely good person. And guess who he looks to as an example to learn from? That's right, it's Rita herself. As Phil falls asleep next to Rita one night, he thinks to himself,

PHIL: I don't deserve someone like you.

And the reason he doesn't think he deserves her is because he thinks Rita is:

PHIL: […] the kindest, sweetest, prettiest person I've ever met in my life.

It's only after Phil has spent an entire day acting like Rita that he is able to win her heart and escape the endless cycle of Groundhog Days. Rita is without doubt the moral center of this movie, a person who is kind to others and who always puts their happiness above her own.

But she also has a strong character and has a good sense of what's valuable in life. Our main character Phil has a lot of catching up to do to get to her level, but he gets at least ten years of Groundhog Days to figure it out.

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