Joan Micklin Silver's writing and direction are at the heart of this wistful recollection of a romance, based on Ann Beattie's novel Chilly Scenes of Winter. The film concerns Charles (John Heard), who recalls his love affair with Laura (Mary Beth Hurt). It has been a year since Laura has left him and returned to her husband Ox (Mark Metcalf) and stepdaughter Rebecca. But Charles thinks about her all the time and even has imaginary conversations with her. Charles met Laura in the filing room at Utah's Department of Development in Salt Lake City, and it was love at first sight. Laura was married but had moved out of her house six weeks before. Charles musters up the courage to ask her out, and soon after they are living together. Living with Charles, Laura has never been happier. But she feels she doesn't deserve her happiness, since she has walked out on a family who had done nothing wrong to her. She can't understand why Charles loves her so much, "You have this exalted view of me, and I hate it. If you think I'm that great then there must be something wrong with you." So Laura decides to move back in with Ox. As Charles muses, Laura is more comfortable with "someone who loves you too little over someone who loves you too much." Charles becomes obsessed with winning her back from her family, watching her pick up her daughter from school, driving past her house, and becoming friendly with her flirtatious fellow worker Betty (Nora Heflin) in order to find out more about Laura.
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