Their relationship is in turmoil and Tommaso (Willem Dafoe) must come to terms with his wife’s desire to change the rules of their marriage. This change between Tommaso and his wife is set against his simple day to daylife in Rome; as a student taking Italian classes, as a teacher working with young acting students, his dealings with the local markets and bars, and most importantly his relationship and the pure love he feels for his young daughter and she for him.
His artistic temper however brings another dynamic to the film. There is the world and the world that exists in Tomasso’s imagination, which especially concerns and impacts Nikki and the other women in his sphere of influence. He is a buddhist with active visions of the passion of the Christ as well as an ex-addict and alcoholic in active recovery, all in a city he calls home but is still foreign with the language and his ability to communicate a struggle. The drama builds from this idea of reality and imagination, and resolves in the discovery of what he and Nikki really want, need from and are capable of giving each other and their family.