Dominick and Eugene are twins, but Dominick is a little bit slow due do an accident in his youth. They live together, with Dominick working as garbage man to put Eugene through medical school. Their relationship becomes strained when Eugene must decide between his devotion to his brother, or his need to go away to complete his training. Things are also not helped by Dominick's co-worker, or Eugene's budding romance.
Sylvia Barrett is a rookie teacher at New York's inner-city Calvin Coolidge High: her lit classes are overcrowded, a window is broken, there's no chalk, books arrive late. The administration is concerned mainly with forms and rules (there's an up and and a down staircase); bells ring at the wrong time. Nevertheless, she tries. How she handles the chaos and her despair in her first semester makes up the film: a promising student drops out, another sleeps through class, a girl with a crush on a male teacher gets suicidal, and a bright but troublesome student misunderstands Sylvia's reaching out. A discussion of Dickens, parents' night, and a mock trial highlight the term. Can she make it?
Alex Abramov is Mossad secret agent looking after some bad guys. He falls in love with young music student Thea, but can not reveal himself and sends her gifts secretly. Thea first thinks that it must be another student, G.R., who sends gifts, and bad guys, knowing about Alex's feelings towards Thea, attack G.R. by mistake.