Ed Saxon (Jeff Daniels) is an English professor of some repute whose life is thrown into serious chaos when his wife, Eve, fails to return home one day. After a sleepless night, Ed phones the police, who find no trace of Eve, save her abandoned car. LaterEd, by now exhausted and disheveled, is visited by a young student (Emily Bergl) who is concerned about his absence from class and has stopped by to drop off some food for him. The student has an obvious attraction towards Ed, and he lets her in the house, where she has an accident that results in a nosebleed and a blood-soaked sweater that she leaves behind. Inevitably, detectives come calling on Ed, who is close to a fatigue-fueled nervous breakdown and nearly loses it completely. His fragile state isfurther exacerbated when he discovers a mysterious object under a chest of drawers, causing him to veer more precipitously towards an all-encompassing emotional collapse.