In a working class neighborhood in Los Angeles, a world weary Henry Poole buys a house, caring little about its lack of amenities. He drinks and eats pizza. Recent stucco work has left a brown stain in a patio wall, and, to Henry's irritation, Esperanza, a neighbor, is certain she can see the face of Jesus in the stain. She brings her priest, then others. Meanwhile, Henry hears his conversations replayed over the fence in another neighbor's yard: it's Millie, about 7, mute, clutching a tape recorder. He tells Millie's mom why he's sad and angry. The face on the wall seems to shed a tear of blood. Is Henry beyond feeling any emotion?