Adapted by the director from the eponymous play by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Grédy.
The French provincial bourgeoisie. 1977. Suzanne (Catherine Deneuve) is the submissive wife of the rich industrialist Robert Pujol (Fabrice Luchini) who runs his umbrella factory with an iron hand. The man is as unpleasant and despotic with his workers as he is with his mistress (Karine Viard), his children (Jérémie Renier and Judith Godrèche) and his wife, whom he takes for a trophy wife.
A strike occurs. Robert is sequestered and Suzanne finds herself at the head of the factory, in place of her husband, who is disowned by the staff. Tired and in poor health, Robert goes on a trip to rest and Suzanne reveals herself to everyone’s surprise as a woman of spirit and action. With the help of her former lover, Maurice Babin (Gérard Depardieu), a communist deputy, she puts an end to the strike, gets the factory up and running again and improves the workers’ working conditions. But when Robert returns from his trip in good shape, everything gets complicated.