It's 1951. In Europe's post-war wreckage, the glittering Italian Riviera draws an eclectic cast of characters; lured by the glamour but seeking an escape. Amongst them, two outcasts: Hal, an English journalist who's living on his charm; and Stella, an enigmatic society beauty, bound to a profiteering husband. When Hal receives a mysterious invitation from a wealthy Contessa, he finds himself aboard a yacht headed for Cannes film festival. Scratch the beautiful surface, and the post-war scars of his new companions are quick to show.
Then there's Stella, whose secrets run deeper than anyone's - stretching back into the violence of Franco's Spain. And as Hal gets drawn closer, a love affair begins that will endanger everyone.