Johan and Marianne are married and seem to have it all. Their happiness, however, is a façade for a troubled relationship, which becomes even rockier when Johan admits that he's having an affair. Before long, the spouses separate and move towards finalizing their divorce, but they make attempts at reconciling. Even as they pursue other relationships, Johan and Marianne realize that they have a significant bond, but also many issues that hinder that connection.
Johan arrives at the couple's summer home and responds coldly to Marianne’s affectionate welcome. He laconically reveals that he has been having an affair with a younger woman named Paula and says that he is going abroad with her for an undetermined period. Marianne is devastated, her anguish evident in close-ups of her disillusioned face. Johan leaves in the morning. Marianne calls mutual friends to plead with them to stop Johan, but they reveal that they have known about the affair for some time, which deepens Marianne’s despair.Watch Now:Amazon
Marianne tries to back out of a Sunday dinner with her parents but fails and realizes how difficult it is for her to defeat other people's expectations. Johan mildly flirts with a colleague at work who carefully yet demeaningly criticizes his poetry. Marianne, a lawyer, counsels an older woman who wants a divorce after twenty years of marriage. Marianne and Johan discuss their sex life, and we learn that Marianne has become uninterested in physical intimacy.
The story begins with a laughingly superficial interview of Johan and Marianne by a reporter for a women's magazine, which nevertheless already begins to reveal the tensions the two keep hidden inside. The couple’s friends Peter and Katarina come over for dinner. The latter two are locked in a mutually destructive marriage and are ready for divorce. Later, in bed, Marianne reveals that she is pregnant. Johan & she discuss the possibility of abortion. In a hospital bed after the abortion, Marianne is regretful.Watch Now:Amazon
Many years have passed since the story began. Marianne visits her mother after her father has died, and her mother reveals that she always did her duty as a wife, though is vague and uncertain as to whether or not she loved her husband, Marriane's father. At his job, Johan drops his current lover and meets Marianne for a tryst at a friend's cabin. Both are now married, but their spouses are away. Marianne sees Johan as small and vulnerable and finds it touching. She admits to enjoying sex with her current husband in a way she never did with Johan, which upsets him. The two come to an understanding after Marianne awakens from a nightmare in the middle of the night. They decide that what they have together is the closest they can get to love.
Johan is disillusioned with his lover Paula and visits Marianne, who has a lover of her own. They talk of divorce. Johan tries to seduce her, but she declines, claiming that she still longs for him and would only be hurt by the intimacy. They eventually attempt to make love, and Marianne admits that she wants them to get back together. They end up spending the night together without having sex. Marianne confesses that Paula has written her a letter.Watch Now:Amazon
Marianne and Johan meet at his office to sign divorce papers. Marianne seduces him, but afterwards she confesses that she has only done so in order to prove to herself that she no longer feels anything for him. Angry, bitter retaliations ensue. Marianne claims that in her marriage she was stifled by Johan and society's expectations of her. Johan admits he wants Marianne back and refuses to sign the papers. When Marianne declines, Johan physically attacks her, and the two fight savagely. Afterwards, the two pick themselves up and sign the divorce papers.Watch Now:Amazon