After graduating from college, Emily Shimoda moves back home in upstate New York to live with her eccentric, well-bred mother, Hanako. Little has changed there. Her father's silk ties still hang limply in the closet even though he left years ago, and Hanako busies her days in relentless pursuit of all things European - especially opera. But when Hanako returns from a Pavarotti concert proclaiming that the opera star himself has promised to visit their home, Emily is amused. Until Hanako hires Alex, an aging, widowed carpenter to renovate the house for Pavarotti's imminent arrival - provoking Emily to seriously question her mother's sanity. As the remodeling consumes Hanako's every waking moment, along with a growing friendship with Alex, Emily grows suspicious of the handyman and the home improvements that her mother haphazardly pours her money into. But as Emily charts the course of her mother's odd preoccupation, and begins to wonder if Pavarotti will indeed make an appearance, she inadvertently finds herself learning some of life's most profound lessons.