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Feb Family Movie Night: Groundhog Day

This month’s family movie night is Groundhog Day! Please read the review and comments about the movie on ( and discern if you want to show your kids! I would say this is for kids 10 and up but we let our 8 year old watch it. If you do not want to share it with your kids, I recommend doing this as a date night in and following along the FMN (Family Movie Night) format with your spouse. 

Here are ways you can stream it:

And here is when they are showing it on Tv coming up:

Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies of all time and I believe it illustrates that happiness and fulfillment is found in seeking goodness, truth and beauty and serving others. This is a truth that can help a marriage thrive. Our spouse is not responsible for our happiness and you are not responsible for your spouse’s, BUT we CAN find happiness through seeking the ultimate good and serving our spouse, or more accurately, letting Jesus serve them through us.

This movie is a great reminder to our kiddos of this truth. The world teaches us that we need to take care of ourselves first, that we should be selfish and put our needs above others. However, happiness cannot be found this way. It is in fact through helping other people and living for the other and pursuing virtue that we find fulfillment.

Questions to ask one another before the movies starts:

  • If you had a day you could live over and over and over, what would you do in that day?

  • If you had all the time and money, but couldn’t leave the town you’re in, what would you do?

  • Do you want to be happy? What do you think would make you the most happy?

Some Catholic thoughts on the movie…

Phil can be short for philosophy which is the study of knowledge, truth and existence, essentially the meaning of life. Phil is philosophy personified. Phil’s life is an example of searching for truth, meaning, and the whole point of existence. We as Catholics know that the meaning of life is to know, love and serve God and participate in His Grace-filled plan for our life (CCC#1, 68). 

Phil’s journey through the estimated 11,000+ days shows us an evolution of human wisdom. In the beginning, Phill chooses to fulfill basic human appetites, grasping for fulfillment and satisfaction but never finding it. This brings him to despair. This is a crucial warning to the watcher that things of this world will never make us happy. As C.S. Lewis once wrote, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” Eventually, he finds something he truly does desire: Rita.

Although this movie leaves out God almost entirely, God is hidden in the good, true and beautiful in the world around us. One of the main desire’s of Phil is to love Rita and secondarily receive her love in return. Rita is short for Margarita, In Latin ”margarita” comes from the Greek word margaritari (μαργαριτάρι), meaning pearl. In Matthew's Gospel we hear the Kingdom of Heaven is like the Pearl of Great Price. Rita represents heaven.

Much like the Pearl of Great Price, Heaven is the most important thing, more precious than anything else. We cannot scam our way into heaven (illustrated by Phil's pathetic attempts and tricking Rita into liking him), but we can pursue God in the good, true and beautiful. When we spend our lives oriented toward heaven, we prioritize pursuits of what is good, true and beautiful in the world, really pursuing God. 

In order to fully pursue God, we put away childish things, like seeking happiness in gluttony, lust, greed, etc. (1 Corinthians 13:11). When we seek God with all we have, the gift of heaven will be made available to us, much like Rita falls in love with Phil at the end of the movie. 

We are made for heaven, but in God’s love and mercy, He makes heavenly things available to us on earth, things that resemble God’s goodness, truth and beauty.

Casey Chalk, in an online article for the Catholic Exchange, wrote “Aquinas would put it, because all things have objects to which they tend (what philosophers call final causality), and because man’s intellect and will are immaterial, and because the object of man’s will is the universal good, man’s end must necessarily be some infinitely good, immaterial end, namely, God.” We are body and soul so things that only appeal to our bodily appetites will never satisfy... the trick is to find God in the finite things. Chalk continues, “If God is the universal good, then it is in Him that we will find our true happiness.” Chalk writes about Matt Fradd's book How to Be Happy. I am adding it to my amazon cart today and if you have teens who may struggle wanting the wrong things in life, this may be a great read for them!

Questions to ask after the movie:

  • We want our family to be happy. We want our marriage to be happy. What has this video taught us about the pursuit of happiness?

  • When we ask each of you kids to serve, we are not trying to make you do stuff for us or annoy you. We truly feel that serving one another can help us be truly happy.

  • When we come across annoying or challenging people like Ned Ryerson, there is a temptation in us to either ignore or avoid them or even punch them in the face. We learn through Phil’s example that when we see past their annoyances and serve them, we find happiness and learn to love them. Are there any people in your life who annoy you? How can you learn to love them better?

  • Near the end of the movie when Phil is living his best life, he catches a kid falling from a tree. The kid does not say thank you and it annoys Phil, as it would any of us, but Phil shows up and does it anyways. What are some things you do every day and don’t get thanked for it? Continue to do those things regardless because it’s in the showing up and serving we will find fulfillment.  

  • How can this family help one another towards heaven? How can we live like Phill toward the end of the movie?

Seek Goodness: 

Help and serve others!

 Corporal Acts of Mercy:

  • Feed the hungry.

  • Give drink to the thirsty.

  • Clothe the naked.

  • Visit the imprisoned.

  • Shelter the homeless.

  • Visit the sick.

  • Bury the dead.

What's one way we can seek goodness as a family?

Seek Truth:

Study God and his goodness: Read good books, discuss with others.

Learn new skills like how to replace a tire or other skills that may help those in need.

What's one way we can seek Truth as a family?

Seek Beauty:

Read poetry, look at paintings, play beautiful music, learn to sculpt, listen to symphonies, visit art museums, etc.

What's one way we can seek beauty as a family?

Plan a family date to do together within the month, exploring something good, true, or beautiful, and look for God!

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