James Horner

To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday

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To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday largely rehashes the character-driven approach James Horner previously explored via scores including Searching for Bobby Fischer and Dad -- its melancholy tones and unabashed sentimentality notwithstanding, the music possesses little personality, instead settling for tired, superficial stabs at emotional depth. Horner focuses exclusively on the sorrow and loneliness of the film's widower protagonist at the expense of corresponding thematic development -- the score is like your sad-sack friend who drones on and on about how much his life sucks, but makes no attempts to do anything to change it. The most significant theme here is "Saying Goodbye," and that's only because it's a note-for-note preview of the then-forthcoming love theme for Titanic -- if it wasn't for his endless self-plagiarism, Horner's music would never stick in the collective memory.

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