The film revolves around a middle school teacher, Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci), who is unhappy with her life. She has a selfish, unloving mother, Beatrice (Celia Weston), and a boyfriend, Paul Coleman (Justin Long),
who cannot seem to figure her out. The film opens as a corpse is in the
process of being prepared for a funeral; the man preparing the corpse
speaks to it mysteriously, but cheerily. He takes a photo, and the scene
fades. Anna is introduced along with Paul, as they finish having sex.
She appears unaffected and cold, while he is frustrated with her lack of
interest. Later, after school, a young boy she teaches, Jack (Chandler Canterbury),
asks her as she is leaving to the funeral, if he could come along. He
says his mother, who had neglected to pick him up from school, would not
mind. Confused, she attempts to explain that funerals are a personal
occasion. Jack offers that he has never been to a funeral before, but
she insists it would be inappropriate. The funeral is revealed to be for
her recently deceased music teacher, the corpse from the initial scene.
There, Anna encounters the solemn owner of the funeral home, Eliot
Deacon (Liam Neeson).
One night, Anna meets Paul for dinner, not realizing he is going to
propose to her and ask her to move to Chicago with him for a job
promotion. Paul begins ambiguously, so Anna assumes the worst. Before
Paul has a chance to explain, she panics, thinking he's breaking up with
her. After a short argument in the restaurant, Anna storms out and
drives off passionately. She has an accident while trying to use her
cell phone and drive in the rain, while a mysterious white Van is seen
on the road alongside.