McKellen shines in this story of a man confronting the demons of his past. Emile, a respected British scientist and professor, travels to Canada to receive an honorary degree and visit his niece Nadia (Unger). Although Emile acts like the perfect uncle, in reality he deserted Nadia in an orphanage when her parents died and has never been a part of her life. Reconnecting with his past leads into a series of oddly-shot flashbacks to Emile's youth and his painful relationships with his brothers, and in the end Emile must come to terms with his own painful past as well as his selfish treatment of Nadia. Despite Bessai's efforts to break up the narrative, the story is routine and predictable, with McKellen's performance the most distinctive part of the film.