Between world wars, the Whittaker's estate is sinking. Only the iron will of Mrs. Veronica Whittaker (Dame Kristin Scott Thomas) staves off bankruptcy while she awaits her son John's (Ben Barnes') return from the continent. To her dismay, he brings a bride: an American widow who races cars. The bride, Larita (Jessica Biel), thinks she and John will visit and then go to London, where he'll work and she'll race. But John is to the manor born, and mother is nothing if not a master at plans and manipulation. Soon it's all-out war between mother and bride, with John's father, Mr. Whittaker (Colin Firth), a burnt out veteran of the Great War, in the bride's corner ineffectually. Mother has a plan to join with the neighboring estate; only Larita is in her way. Can't we all get along?