Beth (Judith Godreche) is nearly an adult and has lived a fairly grim and unenchanting life. This is mirrored in her attraction to the similarly grim life and morose works of Arthur Rimbaud, about which she has become a quite noteworthy student. She lives at home with her mother and a younger brother. Her mother is the mistress of a wealthy man they have been taught to call "uncle," and he has paid for their apartment all these years. Now that Beth is a lovely woman in her own right, "uncle" has indicated that he would like to transfer his attentions to her, which it not something that is agreeable to her. Meanwhile, her teen-aged boyfriend has begun making unreasonable demands on her, and she is trying to break up with him. In the three days covered by this drama, Beth's life is transformed.