FILMS… My Three Fave Films with Time Loop Plots

#1990s #2000s


Going loopy in the name of love…


The second of my Wandering Through the Shelves for 2022 posts lists three of my favourites on this topic.



This is the next of my 2022 posts for this weekly entertainment-themed challenge from Wandering Through the Shelves.  For my second and my final post for January, the challenge is to pick three of my favourite films with time loops as part of the plot.

More about this blog’s 2022 blogging challenge is found HERE… and this page also includes the blogger’s final challenge for this month, if you are now keen to join this fun collaboration.

…. Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them.

All my weekly contributions for 2022 are found HERE…  and my and others’ contributions for this particular topic are HERE. Please note I will be adding all links to this collab as I get them.

Wikipedia defines Time Loops HERE as,

a plot device in fiction whereby characters re-experience a span of time which is repeated, sometimes more than once, with some hope of breaking out of the cycle of repetition.

Honourable mentions for this film are mentioned here by film critic, Roger Ebert who mentions this trope HERE.

Divergent timelines figured in “Groundhog Day,” with Bill Murray living the same day until he got it right. Gwyneth Paltrow, in “Sliding Doors,” was snared in alternate time lines, romance and adultery. The new German film “Run Lola Run” plays the same 20 minutes three different ways.

The three films I’ve selected to illustrate this topic are Groundhog Day (1993), If Only (2004) and one with three titles depending on where you live… Twice Upon a Yesterday / The Man with Rain in His Shoes / If Only (1998).

All these films have quite different romances with a male protagonist who experiences the time loop in different ways…


Groundhog Day (1993)

Groundhog Day (1993) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers, Movieclips Classic Trailers

This is probably the film most people think of when time loop themed films are mentioned. It’s the perfect showcase to learn about this movie trope. Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a cynical, jaded weatherman who is sent to report on their Groundhog Day celebrations in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. And after a severe snow blizzard, much to his dismay he ends up having to stay there overnight much to his dismay.

Then every morning at 6am, he discovers that the events of Groundhog Day – a particularly cold, February the 2nd – repeat and repeat again (and again) with seemingly no end to this time loop.  This is until… as the trailer says “he gets it right”. As Connors is the only one who believes this is happening, this adds volumes to the feeling evoked in those scenes where he never can believe for certain, that he will have escaped this time loop and that a new day and date will arrive the next day.

Like anyone in his position at first, he tests this time loop out by behaving in outrageous ways after he discovers that there there are no consequences to these actions. And in time he tries to bed his producer, Rita (Andie McDowell) and he often gets things wrong or is turned down by her. Somewhere along the way, he falls in love with her and then learns how to get it right as the day repeats itself. This is true for other situations and Connors uses his time loop to full advantage.

The fantasy film plot is easy to relate to through Murray’s portrayal of Connors and the consistency in others’ performances. The script has a credible understanding of this character’s predicament. It shows a balance of comic, heartwarming and more serious moments in the film. Things take a darker – but realistic slant – as Connors becomes depressed and believes suicide is his only escape from this time loop.

This is one of my favourite Bill Murray roles as his performance has his cynical character go through a character arc as he relives events over the same day (again and again). He turns from quite a nasty person to a more loved one and Murray always makes you emphasise with Connors’ plight. You feel you can identify with this character who sees this time loop as a fun challenge and then a never-ending nightmare.


Twice Upon a Yesterday / The Man with Rain in His Shoes / If Only (1998)

Twice Upon A Yesterday Trailer 1998, Video Detective

This was my first time loops film experience and this film has three titles depending on where you are in the world. As a Brit I know it as If Only… and it’s a British and Spanish collaboration set in London. Our photogenic film couple this time has Douglas Henshall as Vic, a Scot who is upset about the love of his life and ex-girlfriend, Sylvia (Lena Headey) marrying Dave (Mark Strong).

It seems Vic and Sylvia broke up after he confessed that he had been unfaithful to her and loved someone else. But he has held a torch for Sylvia since and still wants her back. After a barwoman and some dustbin men give him the chance to relive the day of their break up again, Vic takes them up on this chance to be with Sylvia once more. So when she asks him (again) if he’s having a fling, he keeps quiet about his other woman.

But in this new timeline, will it be a case of him staying with his true love and then a happy ever after, as he tries to make himself a better man? Or will it be a case of what’s for you won’t go by you as Sylvia’s friend (Charlotte Coleman) introduces Sylvia to Dave and they have a mutual and undeniable attraction?

It’s a real tearjerker of a film that was praised for its unique screenplay and solid performances. I won’t tell you how things turn out in the film, but admittedly I did shout at the screen, I did cry and I did hope for Vic to end up with Sylvia… But these are my normal reactions to time loop romances.

And it’s not the only British time loop film with this title in these three reviews. So do trust me that you are not going through a time loop, with my next entry…


If Only (2004)

IF ONLY (2004) – Official Trailer, the Petrosian

For my third and final choice for this topic, I’m choosing a film that I discovered long ago trying to find out more about Douglas Henshall’s time loop film of the same name for a long lost post. The film has Canterbury Tales, The Wife Of Bath (2003) and Eastenders (1985-), Paul Nicholls. He is  Ian, a young man who puts work first and love second. This is to the annoyance of his loved up girlfriend, Samantha (Jennifer Love Hewitt) who gets upset as he never tells her about him and that he loves her.

Ian gets the chance to relive a day with Samantha after she dies in a tragic car accident and he realises just how much he loves her. So after this tragedy and the once in a lifetime offer from a mysterious taxi driver, Ian gets to relive this day again. He then puts the time loop down to a bad dream and like Groundhog Day, this young man learns from his experience.

This reliving of events gives Ian the push to change to the man she wants and needs, albeit the second time around. So Ian changes for the better as he relives their last day together more romantically, passionately and becomes the man she wants. But will things end differently as the time of her death approaches.?

It’s another real weepie of a movie and the young acting leads are convincing. They totally pull on your heartstrings with a lovely credible on-screen romantic chemistry throughout the movie. The inclusion of this time loop trope makes you think about how you would behave in this situation and this adds some gravitas to the plot. As this time loop repeats itself only once  – like the second film reviewed above – this adds to the urgency in him getting things perfect next time round. This is as he revisits events, and learns from this “bad dream”.

Sadly these are all fantasy films as in reality we only have one chance to get it right… And to quote yet another What If, but this time from a song from a film soundtrack.

And if I said that we could turn it back Right back to the start Would you take the chance and make the change…

This soppy ballad is from Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001) and was sung by actress, Kate Winslet. This as her character appears to ponder on a time loop where she had never a lost love… and if things would have changed. I imagine this thought must have gone through Winslet’s character Rose’s head in Titanic (1998) after those final scenes with Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) … before she let him go literally.

But back to reality, who hasn’t had that thought of living through a situation all again, “spinning through” their mind… where you can in your fantasies you can recreate those events once again…

And check out all my weekly contributions for 2022 are all found HERE…  


Don’t forget to read the other contributions for this topic on Wandering Through the Shelves link up HERE.

And tune in for February 10th post on my three favourite movies in a Romance Tropes Edition: Famous Person and Non-Famous Person Romance




13 thoughts on “FILMS… My Three Fave Films with Time Loop Plots

  1. We match with Groundhog Day. It is a fun film and one where Bill Murray doesn’t overact like in Scrooged. I have not seen the other 2 films but the first If Only sounds a touch better than the second one.

    Liked by 1 person

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