"Desire only that which has already been given," Rabbi Gamiel used to say. "Want only that which you already have." So much pain and frustration comes when we give in to wanting something more, better, or different. Chris (Christian Bale) is married to Marian (Emily Watson) and they live with their young child in a London suburb. When Toni (Lee Ross), his free-spirited friend, arrives and chastises him for choosing a bourgeois lifestyle, this young man's mind becomes a battlefield of memories and regrets.

Chris recalls an idyllic period in the 1960s when he went off to Paris and followed his bliss of photography. At that time, he pursued a highly erotic relationship with a sexy French secretary. Now with Toni around to make him feel bad about what he's missing, Chris is tempted to have sex with a woman who offers herself to him at a party. It takes Marian's clear-sightedness to release her husband from his dissatisfaction. She knows that Toni is really jealous of Chris. Director Philip Saville draws out top-drawer performances from Christian Bale and the inimitable Emily Watson (Hilary and Jackie, Breaking the Waves).