Haewon (Jeong Eun-chae) is a pretty film student and aspiring actress who lives in Seoul, South Korea. Her mother is about to leave for Canada to live with her son. Haewon, who feels like she should have been born in another century, is envious when her mother says that in Canada she hopes to dance in the streets and do whatever she pleases. Sensing that her daughter feels sad, her mother suggests that she compete for the Miss Korea title and then she too could do whatever she wants to do.

Haewon is a very beautiful young woman with a smile that lights up the place wherever she goes. Men can't resist telling her how attractive she is and then immediately following the compliment with an awkward statement. Without a father and now with her mother gone, Haewon falls asleep very easily wherever she might be — at her kitchen table, at a library, and elsewhere. In one of these dream sequences, Haewon meets a famous actress (Jane Birkin) on the street and is astonished and overjoyed that the celebrity talks with her and then suggests that she visit her in Paris. The dream is a suggestion that Haewon should think more positively about herself and her strong impact on others.

On the streets of the city, she encounters Jung-won (Kim Eui-seong), a professor and filmmaker who is studying in San Diego, California. Swept away by her beauty, he wonders whether she would consider marrying him and making him the happiest man in the world. She rejects the offer declaring that she already is in a serious relationship. That's not quite true. The reality of her situation is that Haewon is having an unsatisfying affair with a married professor and filmmaker, Seong-jun (Lee Sun-Kyun), whose wife has just had a baby. In an uncomfortable gathering with his film students, she tries to drown her feelings of isolation and unhappiness in as many drinks as she can swallow.

South Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo has fashioned a thought-provoking drama about one of the most universal experiences of our time — loneliness. Haewon is a beautiful young woman who feels cut off and separated from others — especially those who profess their love for her. There are only two scenes in the story where she is happy: one is when she is affirmed and accepted as she is by the famous actress she meets on the street and the second when Haewon and Seong-jun sit and listen to his favorite piece of music on his cell phone.

Catholic author Ronald Rolheiser has written: "Loneliness is most dangerous when it is not recognized accepted, and worked through creatively. It is then that it wrecks wreaks havoc with our lives. Conversely, it is a tremendously creative and humanizing force when it is recognized and addressed correctly." Nobody's Daughter Haewon celebrates the baby steps taken by the heroine as she begins to deal with the breadth and depth of her loneliness.

Screened at The 51st New York Film Festival, Lincoln Center.