An upper middle class English dysfunctional family is examined while the time switches back and forth from the past to the present.
In the present, Alice is seen begging her son, Jack Ferris, to attend his twenty-first birthday party that she and her husband, Jack's stepfather, are giving. It is clear that Jack dislikes his stepfather and has long been astringed from his mother.
Jack's sister, Elyssa Ferris, still lives at home and seems to maintain a respectful, yet distant relationship with both her mother and stepfather.
Time returns to when Jack and Elyssa were pre-adolescents, and we see the relationship between the children's father - now dead. Jim Ferris is definitely an alpha male being a success in business and expecting exemplary achievements and behavior from his children.
It is clear from their actions that, even though they love their father, and he loves them, that these two children have serious emotional and adjustment problems. A weakness in the storyline of the film is exposed here as Jim Ferris doesn't appear nearly as domineering and controlling enough to foster the abhorrent actions of his children - especially those of Elyssa. Most of this horrible behavior exposes itself after Jim's death.
This film is well acted by all of the players and beautifully produced, but the extreme actions of the two children - both and youths and adults - are not fully justified based upon the events witnessed by the viewer. Never-the-less, it is an interesting and entertaining film.