England 1915. Dora Carrington, a young painter, meets Lytton Strachey, a pacifist and homosexual writer.
They start a complicated platonic relationship, she loves him with a deep and poignant love but she doesn’t give up on relationships with other men.
She is aware that Lytton can’t love her as a man loves a woman because he is physically attracted to men, but he shows tenderness towards Carrington and he likes to spend time with her.
Their relationship fits no conventional mold and is not expressed in ordinary ways. The complex bond between them has romantic undertones.
On his deathbed, in delirium, Strachey declares his love to her and she is shocked, and when he dies she loses all interest in life and commits suicide.
Emma is fantastic as always in playing a complicated and multi-nuanced character, who seems to pass easily from one bed to another but who suffers from the unrequited love she has towards Lytton.
By that time Emma had already played characters who had suffered from unrequited love: Miss Kenton in The remains of the day and Margaret Schlegel in Howards End.