A man struggles back from madness to avenge the death of someone he knew in an intelligent thriller based on the acclaimed novel by George Dawes Green. Romulus Ledbetter (Samuel L. Jackson) once had a career as an acclaimed concert pianist, a position at the Juilliard School of Music, and a loving wife and children. But Ledbetter's life has been devastated by paranoid schizophrenia; now homeless, Ledbetter wanders the streets of New York City as he rails against Cornelius Gould Stuyvesant, a man whom he believes controls all the evil in the world while following his movements from a perch atop the Chrysler Building. Most nights, Ledbetter takes shelter in a cave in Central Park, earning him the nickname "the Caveman." One morning, Ledbetter discovers a frozen corpse caught in the branches of a tree near his cave; the body is that of Scotty (Sean MacMahaon), a homeless drug addict who was close friends with his pal Matthew (Rodney Eastman). Ledbetter is determined to get justice for Scotty, and he's also eager to prove himself to his daughter Lulu (Aunjanue Ellis), now a New York City police officer. While Ledbetter is at first convinced that his nemesis Stuyvesant is responsible for Scotty's death, in time he focuses on another suspect: David Leppenraub (Colm Feore), a famous photographer known for his controversial erotic images of young men, who occasionally hired Scotty as a model. As Ledbetter attempts to investigate Leppenraub's possible role in the murder, he soon gains an unexpected ally -- Moira (Ann Magnuson), a noted sculptor and Leppenraub's sister. The Caveman's Valentine marked the major-studio debut for director Kasi Lemmons, who made an impressive debut in 1997 with the independent drama Eve's Bayou.
by Mark Deming synopsis