For nearly four decades, lifelong friends Jude, Wendy, Adele, and Sylvie have seen each other through romances, child-rearing, changing careers, divorces, medical recoveries, and general aging. But now Sylvie has died, and the three remaining women are tasked with cleaning out her beach house before it’s sold. Over the course of a hot, muggy weekend, Jude, Wendy, and Adele gather for one last time in this memory-filled spot on the beach, and get to work restoring the house, and – in Sylvie’s absence – their trust in one another.
It’s not a sentimental event. The weather is sticky, the work is grimy, and Sylvie’s absence brings constant tension. It’s immediately clear that Sylvie had been the one who made the friendship work between such utterly different women: “perfect Jude” with her perfectly designed life and long-standing relationship with a married man; feminist, intellectual, widowed Wendy, now obsessed with keeping her elderly dog alive; and glamorous, preening Adele, a former star of the stage, now practically broke and homeless. Thrust together in this weathered old house on the ocean, where the ghosts of their younger selves compete with their current realities, the women ponder a collective lifetime of loves and grievances, disappointments and successes, and ultimately, how a life can change in a single unexpected instant – or over the course of a weekend.