TO GILLIAN ON HER 37TH BIRTHDAY tells about a father and a daughter who deal with the loss of their wife and mother, Gillian. Rachel is a 16-year-old returning home after a summer with her aunt and uncle. David lives on the beach in Nantucket. Gillian, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, has been dead for two years. Labor Day weekend marks not only Gillian’s birth and death, but also a family reunion. During the reunion, Gillian’s sister, Esther, and brother-in-law, Paul, bring their own feelings and expectations. Through all of the weekend traditions, David is met by her memories and pieces of the past that he wants to keep. David finally realizes what must be done when Rachel dreams of her mother and screams, “I have to let my mother be dead.”
Claire Danes gives a remarkable performance. Her portrayal of 16-year-old Rachel, dealing with death and her father, genuinely gives a balanced and realistic portrayal. A death is not something that happens and then is forgotten. It takes a grieving process that measures different for everyone. This movie, like BOGUS, shows an imaginary person who knows when it is time to let go. Hence, the movie demonstrates that giving up vain imaginations are necessary for what is ultimately real. It has adult subject matter, some foul language and a romantic worldview.
(Ro, LL, V, S, N, A) Romantic worldview where a widower is still in love with his deceased wife; 1 vulgarity, 10 obscenities & 6 profanities; implied attempted suicide; implied adultery & some sexual suggestions; girls in bathing suits; and, underage drinking leading to drunkenness