Times are tough in Liverpool, a dark and rough city where thousands of men and women are unemployed. Elaine (Alexandra Pigg) is among their ranks. Her flamboyant friend Teresa (Margi Clarke) has a job at a chicken factory. At a local disco, she steals a stranger's wallet, and the two women go to a fancier club to look for men.

Elaine's eyes lock on Peter (Peter Firth), a Russian sailor who is with his buddy Sergei (Alfred Molina) on a 24-hour pass. After dancing, the women take them to a hotel. Teresa gets what she is looking for; Elaine and Peter spend the night talking about themselves and their lives. By morning, they are in love. At the ship, Elaine kisses Peter goodbye while hoping in her heart that they can be reunited someday in the future.

The Russians have a proverb: "Love and eggs are best when they are fresh." The same could be said for romantic movies. Letters to Brezhnev is fresh, gritty, humorous, and winning in every way. Teresa is a tough cookie who convinces her friend to write a letter to Brezhnev explaining why she and Peter should be together. When the leader responds with an airplane ticket for Elaine, she is stunned. So are her parents, the press, and the Foreign Office — all of whom try to dissuade her from going. In the end, Teresa proves that she understands the dictates of the heart best. More than any film of recent note, Letters to Brezhnev reveals, as Freud observed: "How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.