The disintegration of a relationship has undertones that find an echo in the possible disintegration of both the economy and the society in this intriguing tale from director Edward Yang. Qin (Cai Qin) has a high-paying job in a computer company, and her fiancé, Lon (Hou Xiaoxian), works in a textile company. Their relationship was never strong, since Lon still harbors some feelings for his ex-girlfriend and tends to dwell in his past glories as a baseball player. After Qin gets a new apartment for them both, everything collapses. She loses her job when the computer company is bought out, her father needs money, her sister needs an abortion, and she suspects that Lon is off seeing his old girlfriend. Lon himself shies away from marriage, gambles away whatever he earns, and worries about one of his friends in need of help. With these demands and strains on their relationship, matrimony hardly seems like a viable option.