After their divorce, Johan and Marianne do not speak for close to 30 years. Johan has purchased a summer home with his small inheritance from a Danish aunt, a once-famous opera singer. Now a retired professor, he is leading a life of solitude in the home, reading books and having contact with no one other than a housekeeper.
Meanwhile, Marianne has always continued to be a family and divorce lawyer, but one day suddenly decides to go in search of Johan and put an end to his isolation. She approaches him on a beautiful autumn day, finding her former husband napping on a lawn chair. After waking him with a soft kiss, the two begin several intense weeks together after an extremely extended separation.
Marianne soon finds that Henrik, Johan's son from another marriage, is also staying on the property with his daughter Karin. Henrik's wife, Anna, passed away two years earlier, and he is having a great deal of difficulty getting over her death. After taking early retirement, he is working to write a book about Bach's St. Johan Passion and concentrating on giving his daughter lessons on playing the cello. A gifted young woman, she is making plans to try out for the conservatory.
Although Johan was close to his daughter-in-law Anna, his relationship with Henrik has always been somewhat tense and difficult. Still, the two are connected by the fact that they miss her terribly. When Marianne arrives, things become yet more complicated as it is revealed that a power struggle centering on Karin seems to be a constant, overwhelming presence. Karin hopes to break free and find her own place in the world. (Kim Hollis/BOP)