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"TO GILLIAN ON HER 37TH BIRTHDAY"
(1996) (Peter Gallagher, Michelle Pfeiffer) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Minor Mild Mild None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Minor Moderate Moderate Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Romantic Comedy/Drama: A wife and husband bring a female friend to their brother-in-law's home hoping to help him finally get over the death of his wife two years ago.
PLOT:
It's Labor Day weekend on Nantucket Island and David Lewis (PETER GALLAGHER) and his teenage daughter Rachel (CLAIRE DANES), are having friends and family visit for their traditional end of the summer bash. David's sister-in-law Esther Wheeler (KATHY BAKER) and husband Paul (BRUCE ALTMAN) have brought along a female friend, Kevin Danford (WENDY CREWSON) hoping that she may help David finally overcome the death of his wife, Gillian (MICHELLE PFEIFFER) who died in a boating accident on her birthday two years ago. What they don't realize is that David still "sees" and talks with Gillian as he can't bring himself to finally let her go. As tensions rise in the family over what's best for Rachel, David must decide whether to move on with his life or continue his never ending love for his deceased wife. The story also involves Cindy Bayles (LAURIE FORTIER) as Rachel's flirtateous best friend and Joey Bost (FREDDIE PRINZE, JR.) as a punk rocker type who becomes romantically involved with Rachel.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those looking for a romance story may be drawn to this as will fans of Claire Danes (TV's "My So-Called Life") and Michelle Pfeiffer.
WHY IS IT RATED: PG-13
For a scene involving strong language, and for some sensuality and teen drinking.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • PETER GALLAGHER plays the husband who just can't let go of his deceased wife's presence. Being so distracted by that, he's somewhat of a reckless driver and doesn't pay enough attention to his daughter.
  • CLAIRE DANES plays the daughter who's doing a better job of coping with her mother's death, but still misses her. In one scene, she drinks quite a bit and ends up getting drunk.
  • KATHY BAKER plays the aunt who's concerned about Rachel's well-being and wants her to come live her and Paul.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10
    This is a sweet little tearjerker of a movie that's a refreshing break from all of the violent and action oriented films we've recently been subjected to. While kids probably won't want to see this and if they do, won't appreciate the theme (of losing a loved one and not wanting to let go of them), their parents will. Performances are good all around, but not outstanding. There's enough humor to break up the more serious subject material and the film's guaranteed to have many viewers reaching for the tissue box. While it might sound like a made-for-TV movie, there's enough "magic," clever writing, and decent performances to elevate it to the big screen. If you're fond of romantic, tear inspiring movies, you'll like this one. We give it a 7 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    While younger kids will probably pass on this film, here the highlights (or "low-lights" as they may be). The film deals with the death of a parent (and spouse) and while this occurred two years ago, the grieving still continues. While not seen, the father's suicide attempt (right after his wife's death) is mentioned twice. There's a great deal of discussion pertaining to where Rachel should be living and thus family tension is thick. Nudity is limited to the two teens' bare bottoms seen in thong bathing suits, but the sexuality/sensuality is a little heavier. Paul and Cindy's flirting comes to a head in one scene where she essentially dares him to go beyond the flirting. What makes that and their other flirting scenes troublesome is that he's married and old enough to be her father. Other than that, there's one scene where Rachel gets drunk at a party and there's moderate profanity (3 "f" words and others). As we always suggest, you should read through the category listings before allowing your kids to see this film.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Wine is consumed with dinner.
  • Paul drinks a beer at a sand castle building contest.
  • Young adults drink beer and mixed drinks at a beach party. Rachel ends up having two large "Zombies" (strong drinks with "rum and stuff") and ends up getting drunk. Joey takes her home and she throws up on her dad's feet.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • Rachel throws up on her dad's feet while drunk.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Joey doesn't slow down at a yield sign and cuts in front of David who drives after him, gets him to pull over, and then yells at him.
  • Esther thinks that she should decide what's right or wrong for Rachel instead of David (thinking that David's gone crazy).
  • Paul flirts with Cindy even though he's much older (and married) while she's just a teenager. See "Sex/Nudity" for full details.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • There is a flashback to Gillian's death where she's climbing up a sailboat's mast. It is tense only because we know something bad's going to happen to her (she falls to her death).
  • Rachel has a dream where she's bike riding with Gillian when suddenly she finds herself alone and then a car comes over the hill and comes right at her.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Gillian climbs up a sailboat mast for the fun and danger of doing so (and ends up falling to her death).
  • David drives down the wrong side of the road as he tries to get Joey to pull over for not yielding at a previous intersection. David also speeds and drives recklessly at times.
  • Cindy gets Rachel to join her in wearing thong bathing suits on the beach to try and attract boys.
  • Joey's appearance may inspire imitative behavior. He has many nose and ear rings and has two blond streaks dyed in his hair on either side of his head.
  • Phrases: "Electric blue rectal floss (a thong bathing suit)," and "Shut up."
  • Though not seen, it's mentioned twice that after Gillian's death, David tried to kill himself with an overdose of sleeping pills.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • Just one or two scenes have minor suspenceful/spooky music in them.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 3 "f" words, 4 "s" words, 4 hells, 1 SOB, and 4 uses of "Oh my God," 3 uses of "God damn," 2 uses of "God," and 1 use each of "Jesus" and "Oh my Lord" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Paul (older and married) and Cindy (a teenager) flirt a lot. One time she catches him sneaking a peek down her blouse and asks him what he's doing. He replies, "I notice you had quite a developmental year." Later he sees her in a tight, form fitting dress. She says, "It took me an hour to get into this dress." He replies, "It only takes me ten seconds to imagine you out of it." And then when they're alone in the house, she tempts him to no end. She says that he's like other men who look but don't do anything and then tells him he can touch her ("I know you've been wondering what I'd be like") and that no one has to know if they do something. The sexual tension is quite strong, but so is his will and nothing happens.
  • Rachel says to Cindy "Oh my God, look at your breasts" (of how they've developed and seen in a bikini top) and we then see Cindy in a thong bathing suit where her butt is clearly seen ("Electric blue rectal floss" as Rachel calls it). Cindy then tells Rachel, "This is how we tease them (boys) with the goods."
  • As Paul talks to David he tells him, "I only have sex by appointment...and it's with Esther."
  • Cindy asks Paul, "Why don't you have children? Do you shoot blanks?"
  • Cindy and Rachel walk down the beach in their thong bathing suits, their bare butts clearly seen, and they draw the attention of every male on the beach. This includes Paul and David who only see them from behind and admire what they see ("...an act of God. No, two acts of God," Paul says) until Rachel turns around and is recognized.
  • As David talks with Gillian, it's mentioned "that a certain daughter was conceived under the stars."
  • After David tells everyone he splashes around with Gillian in the ocean, Paul asks, "Is she naked?"
  • After Esther criticizes David for fantasizing about Gillian, he asks her, "How many people, when making love with their spouse, fantasize they're with someone else?" Later Esther asks Paul if he does that.
  • SMOKING
  • Paul occasionally smokes a cigar.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • David, Rachel, Esther and Paul watch in horror as Gillian falls to her death.
  • David can't let Gillian go and thus creates tension within their family as Rachel is upset that every night she sees him walking and talking "with" her (only he sees or hears her in his mind) and Esther thinks he's gone crazy.
  • Esther begins to make moves to legally remove Rachel from David for the girl's own good and this obviously upsets David and leads to several family arguments.
  • It's mentioned twice that after Gillian's death, David tried to kill himself with an overdose of sleeping pills (and daughter Rachel knew about that).
  • Rachel decides she has to go and live with Esther and Paul while understanding that it will upset her father (She says, "I have to go. I have to let my mother be dead").
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The death of a mother (and wife) and the grieving process.
  • It's mentioned twice that after Gillian's death, David tried to kill himself with an overdose of sleeping pills.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Gillian falls to her death from a sailboat mast (but the impact is not seen).
  • It's mentioned twice that after Gillian's death, David tried to kill himself with an overdose of sleeping pills.



  • Reviewed October 16, 1996

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