Strict and conservative Martha (Nicole Kidman) runs a home for girls in Civil War Virginia where she in charge of six girls of varying ages. One of the younger girls, Amy, is out collecting mushrooms when she comes across a solider who can’t walk because of a leg injury. Not wanting to leave him stranded and injured, she helps Corporal McBurney (Colin Farrell) stumble back to the house.
The stranger’s good looks aren’t lost on Martha and the older girls, who definitely take notice. Martha tends to his wounds until he can walk again. He is mostly confined to the music room while he is healing, so as to avoid temptation. As he is getting better, the Corporal realizes he has nowhere to go and hopes that he can stick around the house to help with the gardens. He even confesses his love to the oldest girl, Edwina (Kirsten Dunst), who he promises to meet in her bedroom later that evening.
Instead, he goes to the bedroom of the younger Alicia (Elle Fanning) and Edwina can hear their giggling outside her room. When she goes to confront him, a scuffle occurs which causes the Corporal to take a tumble down the stairs. Now his leg is injured beyond repair. Martha, aware of his rejection of her and Edwina in favor of Alicia, takes advantage of the Corporal’s new injury to exact revenge.
This dark movie takes a bit to build to the inevitable conclusion, which happens abruptly, and may not appeal to everyone. Rated R