The film’s central character, Ray (Daniel Craig), has schizophrenia. The story begins with Ray’s discharge from psychiatric hospital. Ray’s devoted brother Pete (David Morrissey) picks him up and drives Ray to his new abode, the spare room in Pete’s West London flat. Pete is a chef who works long hours in the café (a traditional “greasy spoon” during the day and a trendy eatery in the evening) that he inherited from his father. He now has to find the time to take care of Ray and monitor the medication that controls the voices in his head.
Ray is an intelligent, out-going young man. He soon falls for Laura (Kelly Macdonald), a Glaswegian girl in the midst of breaking up with her abusive boyfriend (Peter McDonald). Laura becomes attracted to Ray because of his spontaneity and his childlike sense of fun. Around this time, Pete also becomes involved in a relationship with Mandy (Julie Graham).
As Ray’s relationship blossoms, he begins to resent taking his pills, preferring to trust in the soothing properties of love. Over time, this decision has disastrous effects on all three relationships: the relationship between the brothers, Ray and Laura, and Pete and Mandy. Ray may cause disruption, concern and distress to those close to him but that is only a fraction of the distress his condition causes him. In the end, it is the relationship between the brothers that is central to the film. Pete is long-suffering but, despite all his frustration and resentment, his loving commitment keeps his brother from serious harm.