After emigrating from Algeria to France, single mother Fatima Elayoubi struggles against barriers of race and language to forge a writing career.
Fatima lives on her own with two daughters: 15-year old Souad, a teenager in revolt; and 18-year old Nesrine, who is starting medical school. Fatima speaks French poorly and is constantly frustrated by her daily interactions with her daughters. Her pride and joy, they are also a source of worry. To ensure the best possible future for them, she works odd hours as a cleaning woman. One day, she takes a fall on the stairs. On leave, Fatima begins to write to her daughters in Arabic that which she has never been able to express in French.