Borrowing its title from a literary genre, the film acknowledges the indeterminacy of both fiction and the self. Noir elements are reduced to deadpan gestures under bright California sunlight. Field recordings made in New Zealand are heard as women speak with each other about motherhood, abortion, breakups and anxiety. A civil rights parade moves slowly down a street. Bodies appear in states of weariness, injured or at rest, while songs by Irma Thomas and Goldberg evoke the passing of time and an uncertain future.