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A young girl is brought to Freud in Vienna by her father in 1900. She suffers from a plethora of symptoms: cough, suicidal ideas, and fainting fits. Freud is at the start of his career and needs both the money from this difficult patient to feed his family, as well as the girl's dreams to prove his theories. The two protagonists, the analyst and the analysand, engage in a battle of wits and the story traces what happens to both of them during the three months they spend together as well as flashing forward to their future lives.