Ariel Dorfman's acclaimed play of the same name serves as the basis for Roman Polanski's drama, which depicts a politically and psychological complex battle of wills amongst three characters in an unnamed South American country. The trio in question is made up of Paulina Sigourney Weaver, her husband Gerardo Stuart Wilson, and Dr. Miranda Ben Kingsley, a seemingly friendly stranger who provided Gerardo with a ride home after a car breakdown. The trouble begins when Paulina claims to recognize Miranda's voice, and accuses him of being the unseen doctor who had subjected her to horrific torture during her days as a prisoner of the country's former government. Miranda, flabbergasted, denies any knowledge of such events, but Paulina is determined to have her revenge. The uncertain Gerardo finds himself caught in the middle, forced to decide if his wife is telling the truth or reacting irrationally due to her past trauma. The confrontation and shifts in power between the three inevitably raises issues of justice and revenge, especially in relationship to the punishment of war criminals.
by Judd Blaise synopsis