David Mamet directed this screen version of his controversial two-character stage drama. John (William H. Macy) is a self-centered college professor preoccupied with his bid for tenure and negotiations for a house that he and his wife want to buy. Mary (Debra Eisenstadt), one of his students, comes by John's office after class; she's failing his course and is obviously confused by the material. Not really paying attention to her, John discusses his philosophies about education in an abstract manner rather than offering concrete suggestions on how to improve her grades. The discussion becomes confrontational and eventually Mary leaves. Several days later, Mary returns, announcing that on the advice of her "group" that she is filing sexual harassment charges against John based on a broad interpretation of his statements. If Mary's suit is successful, it could cost John his job -- and the house he's always wanted. Mamet's wife, actress and musician Rebecca Pidgeon, composed the film's musical score.
by Mark Deming synopsis