Gabrielle (Marion Cotillard) comes from a small village in the South of France, at a time when her dream of true love is considered scandalous, and even a sign of insanity. Her parents marry her to Jos? (Alex Brendem?hl), an honest and loving Spanish farm worker who they think will make a respectable woman of her. Despite Jos?'s devotion to her, Gabrielle vows that she will never love Jos? and lives like a prisoner bound by the constraints of conventional post-World War II society until the day she is sent away to a cure in the Alps to heal her kidney stones.