An exotic girl from another time, her face mysteriously veiled, wanders a parched landscape in search of water. Upon finding a well, she extracts the clear liquid from its depths and feasts on it with abandon.


The ancient image melds into the face of YASMEEN BAKTIAR, a dark young beauty in her twenties. Her sheltered life in Tehran is poised to change drastically as her father marries her off to RASHEED SHIRAZI, a brilliant young Iranian-American business man who whisks her off to Los Angeles. As the wheels of Yasmeen’s plane leave the ground of her native land, MALEEKA, her somberly dressed Muslim companion, reassures the nervous young girl that she has made the right decision.


Thrown in the middle of American life at its most vibrant in Venice Beach, Yasmeen is assaulted with sights and sounds that she has never before encountered. With a new husband who barely has time for her and a scolding Maleeka nagging her at every turn, Yasmeen welcomes the presence of EVE TANNER, a lively blonde neighbor intent on exposing Yasmeen to a life of pleasure and indulgence.


Enticed by the temptations of her new life, and despite the clashes between Eve and Maleeka, Yasmeen grows distant from her old friend as she embarks on new adventures with Eve. But a chance encounter with JONATHAN PRICE, a handsome stranger, gives Yasmeen cause to hesitate; she realizes that her Koran has been gathering dust and that she has lost sense of the person she used to be. Withdrawing into herself, she returns to her roots and to her neglected faith. But Eve’s influence is very strong, and soon Yasmeen finds herself spending more and more time with Jonathan. At the same time she realizes that she is falling in love with Jonathan, she discovers that her husband has been cheating on her.


At this point, it is also revealed that Eve and Maleeka are in reality not flesh and blood people, but human manifestations of both sides of Yasmeen’s mind. Torn by her desire for freedom and her guilt over violating her conscience to satisfy her desire for love, Yasmeen agonizes over what to do.


In the end, Yasmeen finds herself at the beach surrounded by water – her symbol for freedom. Her wedding ring drops from her open palm into the waves. A figure of her ancient self walks past her, toward the ocean. Heavily veiled and dressed in period clothing, the ancient Yasmeen carries an earthen jug of water. She bends the jug to the waves, but instead of drawing from the ocean, she pours the water of her freedom into it.