Hanna (Karine Vanasse) is a lovely 13-year-old coming of age in Montreal during the 1960s. She is very close to her mother (Pascale Bussieres), a frail and sickly woman who works at a garment factory. Her father (Miki Manojiovic), a Polish immigrant, fancies himself to be a brilliant writer and refuses to stay at any job very long. The tension in the home over money is not helped by the fact that Hanna's grandmother (Monique Mercure) disapproves of her daughter's husband.
At the Catholic high school she attends, Hanna is an outsider and scorned for her Jewish background. She escapes the tensions of home and the pressures of adolescence at the movie theatre. Her obsession is Jean-Luc Godard's Vivre sa vie in which Anna Karina plays Nana, a thick-skinned prostitute. Hanna is fascinated by her own sexual feelings but doesn't quite know what to make of her attraction to Laura (Charlotte Christeler), her only friend. Equally disconcerting is her enchantment with a teacher (Nancy Huston) who reminds her of Nana.
The struggle to find a way through the confusing maze of adolescence is one we can all recall. Writer and director Lea Pool has fashioned an engaging film about one girl's coming of age. Set Me Free reveals the startling awkwardness at the heart of this passage and the mixed feelings we often have toward family and peers.