Meeting old friends can be enlightening, fun, dangerous and painful. Just ask Jake Burns, a trial lawyer and published novelist who is called upon to organize such a meeting. Ten years after the death of his wife, Janie, he fulfills her last wish, reuniting their closest friends from Yale one last time.
As undergraduates in the early 1980s, Jake and Janie belonged to one of the university’s “secret societies,” and Jake sends out invitations to the other members, most of whom haven’t seen each other since Janie’s funeral. Once the best and the brightest of the Ivy League, the group that arrives in New York is now, by most standards, an accomplished and esteemed bunch. Entrepreneur/mogul Lloyd arrives with his actress girlfriend Minerva, who hopes to penetrate her new lover’s distant persona; Barnaby and his wife Emily are at a crossroads in their marriage, he battling alcoholism and a stalled career, she frustrated that her dreams as a writer have never been realized; Sadie is a former actress turned talent agent who has power but lacks fulfillment; Saul is a successful doctor and philanthropist, happily married to Beth, who is apprehensive about meeting her spouse’s old friends; and Eamon is a renowned journalist who has never outgrown his sharp tongue or thirst for excitement. Jake puts the weekend together with the help of his executive assistant, Averil, who has developed a deep romantic bond with her boss, though she is considerably younger than Jake and though he remains emotionally attached to his late wife. Honoring Janie’s wishes, the group recreates their “program” from Yale – a form of confession and group therapy where the members take turns accounting for their lives and assessing each other, sometimes brutally.
The weekend encounters grow more intense, old rivalries and longings are uncovered, and the pressure mounts for Jake to reveal exactly why Janie wanted everyone to reunite. This absent friend emerges as a central figure as everyone in the group comes looking for something familiar and reassuring from the past. What they discover is entirely different from what they expected and leaves no one, and no couple, unchanged.