Paul Dietrich (Richard Dreyfuss), at almost 30 years old, is a fading piano prodigy. Heidi Schoonover (Amy Irving) is a talented young pianist with a promising future. When Paul hears of an upcoming competition that could make his career, he dedicates himself to winning. Heidi and Paul meet one day during practice and, though she is immediately drawn to him, Paul thinks romance will just be a distraction. Heidi's teacher, Greta (Lee Remick), is also wary of Heidi's newfound attraction.