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To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday is a 1996 film starring Peter Gallagher, Claire Danes, Kathy Baker, Wendy Crewson and, in cameo appearances, Michelle Pfeiffer. It was directed by Michael Pressman. The screenplay by David E. Kelley was based on the play of the same name by Michael Brady. The original music score was composed by James Horner.

Plot summary

David Lewis spends most of his time swimming, dancing, and frolicking on the beach with the spirit of his dead wife Gillian. After Gillian's death due to falling from the mast pole of their boat, David made their summer cottage on Nantucket Island into a permanent home. He lives there with his teenage daughter Rachel, who is being neglected because her father spends so much time with her dead mother's ghost. On the second anniversary of Gillian's death, over Labor Day weekend, he invites Gillian's sister Esther Wheeler and Esther's husband, Paul, for the weekend.

David's in-laws bring with them a beautiful woman named Kevin Dollof, hoping that David's attentions will turn to her. But David ignores her and proceeds with his ritualistic celebration of Gillian's birthday, including a formal dinner, karaoke and building sand castles. After Paul makes passes at Rachel's young, sexy girlfriend (who encourages it), Esther and Paul re-examine their bickering marriage and find their relationship paltry compared to David's overwhelming passion for Gillian. Nothing can interfere with David's love for Gillian, but he comes to realize that he must be more attentive to his daughter as well. As he and Gillian's first rule was always "Rachel comes first."

Main cast

Actor Role
Peter Gallagher David Lewis
Michelle Pfeiffer Gillian Lewis
Claire Danes Rachel Lewis
Laurie Fortier Cindy Bayles
Wendy Crewson Kevin Dollof
Kathy Baker Esther Wheeler
Bruce Altman Paul Wheeler
Freddie Prinze, Jr. Joey Bost
Seth Green Danny Green


  • Young Artist Awards: Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress - Claire Danes


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