Englishman Rory O’Hara and his American wife Allison live a middle class life in New York, with their adolescent son Ben and Allison’s teenage daughter Sam. Allison teaches horseback riding, while Rory is a trader. Believing his opportunities in the States are limited, Rory convinces Allison to relocate with him to England, where he plans to return to the firm of his former employer Arthur Davis. The family moves into a huge old mansion in Surrey, where Rory convinces Allison she can start her own horse farm on the property, buying a horse named Richmond for her. Construction begins on a stable, while Sam and Ben are enrolled in expensive private schools. Rory takes Allison to high-class dinner parties with Arthur and his colleagues. However, the family has some difficulty adjusting, as their secluded location and respective commutes make it difficult for the kids to get to school on time.
Several weeks after they’ve moved in, construction abruptly stops on Allison’s stable. After calling the construction crew, Allison learns Rory never paid them, as his bank account is nearly empty. Rory promises he will have money soon, but Allison is forced to provide for the family by cutting into her hidden cash fund. Their relationship is strained, with Allison beginning to bristle at Rory’s efforts to appear high-class while they remain nearly broke. At the office, Rory proceeds with his scheme and proposes that Arthur sell his company to a larger American firm looking for a London office. After brief consideration, Arthur refuses. That night, Rory does not come home. At the house, Richmond collapses in pain and Allison is forced to go to a neighboring farmer, who puts the horse down. Allison, Sam and Ben are left at the house with the dead horse and no explanation for Rory’s absence. Rory travels elsewhere in England to visit his mother, telling her about his family, but she shows no interest in them and accuses Rory of abandoning her. Rory returns home late that night, and gets into an explosive argument with Allison over their financial woes and Rory’s reckless, delusional behavior.
In order to provide consistent income to the household, Allison begins working as a farmhand for the neighbor who euthanized Richmond. Sam makes some disreputable friends at school, while Ben has difficulty adjusting and ends up getting into a fight with some bullies. Having reached a dead-end in his effort to get rich by merging the firms, Rory and his colleague Steve arrange a potentially lucrative new deal with a Norwegian fish-farming corporation. Rory and Allison attend a dinner with Steve and their prospective clients, while Sam and her friends throw a party back at the house. As the party gets out of control, Ben flees outside and witnesses Richmond’s carcass being pushed to the surface of the grave due to improper burial. At the dinner, Allison openly mocks Rory before leaving the restaurant, taking the car and getting drunk at a nightclub. Rory attempts to downplay Allison’s resentment to the clients, but they are unimpressed by him, and opt to go into business with Steve while cutting Rory out. Rory tries to take a taxi back to Surrey, and confesses his many indiscretions to the taxi driver, claiming his job is “pretending to be rich”. With Rory’s confessions making it clear that he is both broke and a liar, the driver anticipates that he will be unable to pay for the long drive, and kicks him out of the car in the middle of nowhere.
The next morning, Allison wakes up hungover in her parked car and drives home, finding the house trashed after the party. Ben shows her Richmond’s grave, where the carcass has risen almost completely to the surface. As Allison breaks down over the grave, Sam and Ben agree to make breakfast. Rory finishes the long walk home and finds his family seated at the table. He starts proposing another relocation, but Allison simply tells him to stop. Sam hugs a crying Rory, then prepares a seat for him.