In this story of obsessive and enduring love, David Lewis (Peter Gallagher) spends most of his time swimming, dancing, and frolicking on the beach with the spirit of his dead wife Gillian (Michelle Pfeiffer). After Gillian's drowning death, David made their summer cottage on Nantucket Island into a permanent home. He lives there with his teenage daughter Rachel (Claire Danes), 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 (Kathy Baker) and Esther's husband Paul (Bruce Altman) for the weekend. David's in-laws bring with them a beautiful woman named Kevin Danford (Wendy Crewson), 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 a pass at Rachel's young girlfriend, Esther and Paul re-examine their bickering marriage and find it paltry compared to David's overwhelming eternal passion. 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.
by Michael Betzold synopsis