While on a journey of discovery in exotic India, beautiful young Ruth Barron falls under the influence of a charismatic religious guru. Her desperate parents then hire PJ Waters, a macho cult de-programmer who confronts Ruth in a remote desert hideaway. But PJ quickly learns that he’s met his match in the sexy, intelligent and iron-willed Ruth.
In 1818, high-spirited young Fanny Brawne finds herself increasingly intrigued by the handsome but aloof poet John Keats, who lives next door to her family friends the Dilkes. After reading a book of his poetry, she finds herself even more drawn to the taciturn Keats. Although he agrees to teach her about poetry, Keats cannot act on his reciprocated feelings for Fanny, since as a struggling poet he has no money to support a wife.
After a long voyage from Scotland, pianist Ada McGrath and her young daughter, Flora, are left with all their belongings, including a piano, on a New Zealand beach. Ada, who has been mute since childhood, has been sold into marriage to a local man named Alisdair Stewart. Making little attempt to warm up to Alisdair, Ada soon becomes intrigued by his Maori-friendly acquaintance, George Baines, leading to tense, life-altering conflicts.
Ms. Isabel Archer isn’t afraid to challenge societal norms. Impressed by her free spirit, her kindhearted cousin writes her into his fatally ill father’s will. Suddenly rich and independent, Isabelle ventures into the world, along the way befriending a cynical intellectual and romancing an art enthusiast. However, the advantage of her affluence is called into question when she realizes the extent to which her money colors her relationships.
Janet Frame grows up in a poor family. She is different than the other kids. She is considered abnormal and locked away in a mental institution for eight years. Everything changes when she starts writing books.
Explores sisters, in their twenties, their parents, and family dysfunctions. Kay is gangly and slightly askew, consulting a fortune teller and then falling in love with a man because of a mole on his face and a lock of hair; then, falling out of love when he plants a tree in their yard. Sweetie is plump, imperious, self-centered, and seriously mentally ill. The parents see none of the illness, seeing only their cute child. Kay mainly feels exasperation at her sister’s impositions. Slowly, the film exposes how the roots of Sweetie’s illness have choked Kay’s own development. Can she be released?
Following the gruesome murder of a young woman in her neighborhood, a self-determined woman living in New York City–as if to test the limits of her own safety–propels herself into an impossibly risky sexual liaison. Soon she grows increasingly wary about the motives of every man with whom she has contact–and about her own.