Sam and Jeannette have two things in common: a passion for music and a need to escape from themselves. In the fall of 1986, when President Reagan is in his second term, Elton John plays on the radio, and Spike Lee is conquering the box office, Sam and Jeannette meet in Virginia. Both of them have landed their first jobs with the Richmond Symphonic Artists, a small orchestra that’s fighting to survive.
Jeannette, fragile and shadowed by demons from her past, quickly falls in love with the charismatic and brilliant Sam. She thinks he will bring her stability and redemption. But she doesn't know that he has secrets of his own: especially that the mystery disease AIDS, the so-called "gay plague" that fills the news and terrifies the American public, could possibly touch his life.
As Sam and Jeannette struggle to save their orchestra, they look for deliverance in each other. But their past secrets - especially Sam's - threaten to destroy the future they're trying to build.