Devoted womaniser and tireless party-goer, Arthur Goring (Rupert Everett) is famed throughout London for his refusal to take anything seriously. Sir Robert Chiltern (Jeremy Northam) is a brilliant politician, a perfect gentleman and the ideal husband for the captivating Lady Chiltern (Cate Blanchett). However, when the scheming Mrs Cheveley (Julianne Moore) threatens to reveal a dark secret from Sir Robert's past, the very foundations of his perfect life look set to collapse. Cornered, he turns to Arthur who instantly finds himself caught up in a tangled web of lies, temptations and trysts. And as if life is not troublesome enough, the persistent charms of Mabel Chiltern and the constant badgering of his father, Lord Caversham, are beginning to pose a threat to Arthur's blissful bachelorhood.