The story is about a young American academic, Omar Razaghi (Metwally), who attempts to persuade the reluctant heirs of a celebrated Uruguayan novelist, Jules Gund, to allow him to write an authorized biography of the writer, who has recently died. Undeterred by the executors’ adamant refusal, and urged on by his vehemently ambitious girlfriend (Lara), another academic, Razaghi turns up uninvited on the family’s doorstep in a remote corner of Uruguay, hoping to change their minds. Before long, he is joined there by his super-efficient girlfriend, Deirdre.
The Gund family, living in two big rundown houses on an overgrown, steamy estancia named “Ocho Rios,” reacts to the intrusion in different ways. The writer’s widow Caroline Gund (an unusually acerbic Laura Linney) stubbornly states with every breath that she will never, never give her permission. The writer’s brother Adam Gund (Hopkins) has a contrary opinion: a biography can only help to keep the writer’s name before a book-buying public. The writer’s young mistress Arden Langdon (Gainsbourg) at sides with Caroline. Then, as she begins to fall for Omar — or is she succumbing only to the charm of someone, anyone, new? — she changes her mind. Two furtther supporters of Omar are Gund’s ten-year-old daughter Portia, and Pete, Adam’s practical-minded companion (Sanada).
How Omar comes in time to have his wish granted, and the effect of that on his future, makes up the plot of this film about the random nature of love and the ways in which we avoid or confront life’s choices. [Synopsis courtesy of the production company]