Maurice (Peter O'Toole) and Ian (Leslie Phillips), veteran actors and lifelong friends, are getting on in years, so Ian is having his grand-niece come to live with him and help take care of him. When the young lady arrives, however, Ian finds himself in a state of shock. Far from the demure young woman of his imagination who would fawn over his every needs, Jessie (newcomer Jodie Whittaker) is a rude, sullen girl who never seems to stop eating junk food, pours milk into his lemon tea, and can't even cook a nice piece of halibut to save her life. Maurice, meanwhile, has just been diagnosed with prostrate cancer -- a fact he conceals from his friends -- and he views Jessie in an entirely different light. Maurice likes Jessie in spite of -- perhaps, one suspects, because of -- her rough edges, and takes her under his wing, escorting her to the theater and the museum and encouraging her to read classic literature.