Khaled (D'Ascenzo) is a feisty 10-year-old boy, the son of a white mother (Duquet) and a North African father he never knew. He's trying to cope with life in an inner city housing project, where he lives with his mother. At school, his classmates taunt him. At home, his mother, an ex-junkie, is becoming increasingly ill.
When his mother suddenly dies, out of fear of being sent to a foster home, Khaled keeps her death a secret and tries to carry on his daily life as if everything were normal. But soon the building manager comes looking for rent, the social worker starts asking questions, and neighbors begin to notice a strange smell coming from the apartment.