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Alice Goodwin (Weaver) has just moved to Wisconsin with her husband (Straithairn) and two daughters. Their only friends in town are their next-door neighbors, Theresa Collins (Moore) and her husband, Dan (Lea), who also have two daughters.

When one of Theresa's daughters accidentally drowns in the Goodwins' backyard pond, Alice gets nailed with allegations of child abuse and feels the threat of jail. Despite hiring a savvy lawyer (Arliss Howard), Alice is the last person to come to her own defense. Guilt and self-hatred trap her too much to make for a sympathetic witness.