Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) is a young, black optometrist whose adoptive parents have recently died. Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn) is a sad, unmarried mother who works in a factory and lives in a shabby terraced house with her confrontational daughter, Roxanne (Claire Rushbrook). Cynthia's brother Maurice (Timothy Spall) is a successful wedding photographer who lives comfortably in suburbia with his snooty wife Monica (Phyllis Logan). In a misplaced effort to re-unite the family, Maurice and Monica throw a small barbecue party for Roxanne's 21st birthday. When Cynthia brings along her new friend Hortense, chaos ensues as some painful truths are revealed.