A young couple living in a Connecticut suburb during the mid-1950s struggle to come to terms with their personal problems while trying to raise their two children. Based on a novel by Richard Yates.
After twenty years of marriage, art professor Nino Rolfe attempts to break down his wife Teresa's conventional modesty. Noticing her affection for their daughter's fiancé, Nino instigates her sexual interest in him as well. This sets off a chain of unexpected events and emotional complications, as Nino and his unpredictable fascist daughter find that they both enjoy being jealous.
Jose Luis is an executive at his parents underwear factory where his girlfriend Sylvia works on the shop floor. When Sylvia becomes pregnant, Jose Luis promises her that he will marry her, most likely against the wishes of his parents. Jose Luis' mother is determined to break her son's engagement to a girl from a lower-class family, and hires Raul, a potential underwear model and would-be bullfighter to seduce Sylvia.
At a college in Rome, a professor, nicknamed "Dodo" is in a deep depression. His stunningly beautiful wife has just left him for another man. Dodo wants her back very badly and has erotic daydreams about her. A beautiful young student in his class asks him for a ride home and seduces the lucky man, but still he wonders about his wife and her lover.
Bored with her marriage to burnt out poet turned corporate executive Thierry, Zandalee falls prey to an old friend of her husband, the manipulative and egotistical Johhny and becomes enmeshed in a sensual, passionate and destructive affair.
A wife questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.
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.
A landscape gardener is hired by famous architect Le Nôtre to construct the grand gardens at the palace of Versailles. As the two work on the palace, they find themselves drawn to each other and are thrown into rivalries within the court of King Louis XIV.