Thirteen year old Charlotte (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is at an awkward age, and lets everyone around her know it, by bickering with her father, brother and housekeeper (beautifully played by Bernadette Lafont), during the long summer vacation. Her provincial world suddenly seems too small and she is irritated by her little neighbour Lulu, who is always tagging along. Everything comes to a head when Charlotte meets and becomes besotted with a musical child prodigy - Clara Bauman is Charlotte’s age, but is everything that Charlotte is not. The doll-like Clara is performing in the sleepy French town and Charlotte begins to fantasise about a life on the road with her idol. Meanwhile a young merchant seaman is showing more than a passing interest in the innocent, but awakening Charlotte.