Jeremy Irons stars as a Swiss school teacher who has lead a dull, sheltered life since his wife left him. One day on the way to class, he encounters a woman who is about to jump of a bridge. He saves her, takes her to his class (???) and when she runs off, leaving her coat, he finds a book in the pocket. The book is a light, philosophical volume by a Portugese doctor. He impulsively travels to Lisbon to find out more, finding out that the author died in the 70's, and finding himself involved with a story of resistance, romance and what not among various Portugese folks played by European actors adopting an inconsistent mix of strange accents. For a film about the spiritual awakening of a dull man, it's awfully stilted and not immensely engaging. It has a great cast ... Tom Courtney. Bruno Ganz, Charlotte Rampling, Christopher Lee ... but they are not given a lot to do, and all seem to be acting in their own separate movies. I'm not familiar with the book this is based on, but this feels like an awkward adaptation that has left out character motivations and large sections of plot in the interest of fitting it within 2 hours.