Released from a sanatorium in Florida, Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Los Angeles, where she gets a job as movie star Havana Segrand's (Julianne Moore) assistant. Her younger brother Benjie, 13, is a child star who recently was released from drug rehab and her father, Dr. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) is a TV psychotherapist.
When her father finds out Agatha has returned to Los Angeles, he becomes extremely angry and demands that she leave. Meanwhile, Agatha strikes up a friendship with an aspiring actor/screenwriter, Jerome (Robert Pattinson), who works as a limo driver.
For her part, Havana is obsessed about a remake of the 1960s movie that made her mother, who died in a fire, famous. She desperately wants the part, and frequently sees her mother's ghost, which drives her to the brink of insanity.
Canadian Connection: Director David Cronenberg, actor Evan Bird and actress Sarah Gadon are Canadian, as are several other cast members.