Tina Balser, an educated, frustrated housewife and mother, is in a loveless marriage with Jonathan, an insufferable, controlling, emotionally abusive, social-climbing lawyer in New York City. He treats her like a servant, undermines her with insults, and belittles her appearance, abilities, and the raising of their two girls, who treat their mother with the same rudeness as their father. Searching for relief, she begins a sexually fulfilling affair with a cruel and coarse writer, George Prager, who treats her with similar brusqueness and contempt, which only drives her deeper into despair. She then tries group therapy, but this also proves fruitless when she finds her male psychiatrist, Dr. Linstrom, as well as the other participants, equally shallow and abusive.
At the climax of the film, Jonathan confesses to Tina that his ambitious plans have collapsed. A French vineyard he had invested in is wiped out, and he is now in debt. Because he has been focusing on non-job issues, his work at his law firm has suffered. He also confesses to having an affair. Tina tells Jonathan that she accepts what he’s done, and promises to support him, but does not tell him of her own affair with George. Tina reveals her story to her therapy group, who angrily criticize or belittle her. The final shot is of Tina’s face, steadfast, as angry voices from the group are heard from off-screen.