Before the revolution, the Communist dictator, Ceaşescu, controls Romania. Living conditions are unbearable. The secret police spies on the citizens and brutally controls them. In this threatening environment Joel and Rachel discover that teaching at the university is a frightening challenge. They are drawn into a world of corruption, deceptions, and betrayals.
After the revolution Joel and Rachel throw off their inhibitions. Rachel joins the radical student movement, while Joel is lured into a murder plot by his new lover, Doina. Caught up in self-destructive behavior, they seek the courage to take control of their lives-before it is too late.