After her mother commits suicide (for reasons unknown), 17-year-old Nazneen (Chatterjee) is forced into an arranged marriage with Chanu (Kaushik), an older man working as a civil servant in London.
Nazneen clings to memories of her idyllic village in Bangladesh as she raises two teenage daughters in a cramped apartment in a cheerless cinder block complex, while Chanu dreams of furthering his career in his adopted country until he’s passed over for promotion.
When he abruptly quits his job, Nazneen takes up sewing to pay the bills and slowly but surely falls in lust with Karim (Christopher Simpson), a younger man who delivers the cloth to her home. Then the planes slam into the Twin Towers. Karim grows a beard and adopts traditional dress in response to the bigotry directed against Muslims.
Chanu undergoes a change of heart that convinces him that his family would be better back in Bangladesh. But Nazneen realizes she has become a Western woman, no longer suited to the place and life she has left behind.