In 1926, life was good for Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife, Gerda (Alicia Vikander). The couple lived comfortably in Copenhagen as aspiring artists; Einar specialized in landscapes, and Gerda painted portraits. When not working, they enjoyed a lively social life, hobnobbing with the city’s social elite and members of the arts community, such as their good friend, Ulla (Amber Heard), a colorful though somewhat flighty ballet dancer. But, above all, they were madly in love with one another. They were also anxious to start a family, a process that wasn’t going too well (but at which they nevertheless kept trying).
During a time of shifts in public opinion and social values, it can be difficult to maintain the status quo, especially among those who are helping to drive those forces of change. So it was in 1914 England with Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander), a headstrong, self-assured, independent thinker with aspirations far different from those of most women at the time. Rather than be relegated to a life of conventional marriage and homemaking, for example, Vera fought for the right to apply to Oxford to earn her college degree and become a writer, much to the consternation of her parents (Dominic West, Emily Watson). What’s more, despite the subtle matchmaking attempts of Vera’s brother, Edward (Taron Egerton), to fix her up with his friend Victor (Colin Morgan), the idealistic young nonconformist resisted these efforts, insisting that she preferred to live her life without a husband. Clearly, Vera was a force to be reckoned with.
Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) is thrilled when he receives some good news at work. As the winner of an internal company competition, the young computer coding whizz for an Internet search firm is the recipient of a much-coveted prize – spending a week with the brilliant, elusive, enigmatic founder of his organization, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). But that elation soon turns to trepidation when he embarks on his journey to Nathan’s secluded mountain retreat and personal research facility. The well-intentioned, idealistic young programmer quickly discovers he may be in way over his head.