NINA lives for her career. On the verge of success she has been working towards for decades, her busy life is interrupted by the suicide attempt of her twelve-year-old son LARS. Nina decides to leave her job in order to spend time with Lars and get to know him again.
Lars is traumatized by an event that took place months ago, when a girl from his class was brutally murdered, locked in a suitcase and burned. Nina takes Lars out of therapy, determined to deal with his emotional bruises herself.
They take of for a vacation to an island where they used to spend their summers. In winter the island is close to abandoned. The few islanders left there are hostile, expecting nothing but trouble from tourists. When Lars proposes they construct a wooden boat, Nina accepts the challenge, determined to prove herself and regain Lars's trust.
As Nina invests all her efforts in getting whatever is needed for the boat, Lars begins to play increasingly menacing games. Reluctant to react to his acts of hostility, Nina has growing doubts as to his role in the murder. She manages to supply the material for his boat, but fails to prevent a violent conflict. Lars is subdued by the islanders, who say he savagely attacked another child.
Nina finds more indications that suggest Lars played a part in the murder at school. Oblivious of his suicidal past and her original intentions, she locks Lars into the house and tries to force him into confession. Lars breaks out in an attempt to run away in their car. Nina stops him by damaging the car in a violent act. Lars locks himself into the car, shutting off altogether.
A violent storm takes over the island. Lars disappears, leaving behind his unfinished boat, tossed around by the sea. Nina runs through the stormy night, searching for Lars in vain. Desperate and exhausted, she returns to the house. There, she finds Lars curled up inside a suitcase in a painful attempt to recreate the murder. Nina shelters Lars, determined once again to deliver him from the destructive forces tormenting him. The physical strain, though, has taken its toll.
Nina succumbs to a strong fever. Lars abandons her, climbing the cliffs to get to the ferry boat. Nina tries to follow, but is too weak. She receives a message from the mainland: Lars's  psychiatrist was arrested for murder and for trying to frame his adolescent patients with his own crime in therapy sessions. Nina realizes Lars is not only innocent but a victim himself. Tormented by her failure, unable to reach Lars, she falls into a feverish slumber.
Upon reaching the ferry, Lars changes his mind and decides to get help for Nina. Nina is saved by the islanders summoned by Lars. She regains her health and is once again faced with the increasingly difficult task to win back Lars's trust. Lars accuses her of failing him repeatedly. He remains hostile. Nina takes  up the construction of his boat, trying to fix it. Lars observes closely, judging her every move. Nina stays focused on Lars, as she strains to repair what was damaged. They finish the boat together. They sail it to the sea.
Confined in the tiny nutshell boat, they are tied together by the simple trust needed to maneuver safely. The past is not forgotten and the time for forgiveness is yet to come. But they are sailing, together, towards a future, and perhaps towards a chance to heal, grow and start over.
copyright hanna slak 2010