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Neil Jordan's lyrical Irish romance takes place in the small seaside town of Bray (near Dublin) and concerns two teenage friends, Jimmy (Niall Byrne) and Rose (Lorraine Pilkington). They spend their days roaming the cobblestone streets and waterlogged piers. To while away the time, Rose and Jimmy make up stories about strangers on the street.
One day, while watching people at the train station, a sophisticated and glamorous older woman, Renee Baker (Beverly D'Angelo), stands out so imposingly from the drab townsfolk that Jimmy and Rose decide to follow her, obsessed with knowing everything about her. They follow her to the beach and at last Renee speaks to them.
When she looks at Jimmy, he's immediately smitten by this mysterious woman. Rose, who has feelings for Jimmy herself, decides to make him jealous by trying to attract a young lion tamer from a traveling circus. But Jimmy is completely attached to Renee and his desire leads him to fateful consequences.