Frank Wood turns in a powerful, understated performance as Lawrence Hull, a middle-aged bachelor who lives a quiet existence with his dog in Bayonne, New Jersey, and works as a pet photographer and a clerk at the local police station.
When his high-school "sweetheart" calls him one day, Lawrence's life takes on a new dimension and romantic memories come to life. He reconnects with the now-divorced Caroline, but loses her all over again when she dies in a freak accident shortly after.
Lawrence forms an unexpected attachment to her son, a 16-year-old malcontent named Johnny, and decides to adopt the boy to prevent him from going into foster care. Lawrence tries hard to be a father to Johnny, but Johnny wants nothing to do with him.
Johnny dabbles in drug use and theft, exhibits behavioral problems at school, and hides behind a wall of anger and silence. His only soft spot is for a pretty neighborhood girl named Mariana, with whom he develops a relationship. Eventually Johnny comes to recognize that Lawrence is the father figure he has been searching for.