The first scene of the movie takes place in a bar where Ali and Emmi meet for the first time. Emmi enters the bar attracted by the strange music coming from inside and once there, she finds that the bar is frequented by Arab people. While she is there, she notices Ali standing by the bar. One of the ladies in the bar suggests that Ali dance with the old woman and Ali goes and asks her to dance with him. Emmi agrees but confesses that she hadn’t danced in 20 tears but agrees to dance with him nevertheless.
Ali tells Emmi that he came in Germany two years ago from Morocco to find work and he had worked with cars ever since. Ali asks her about her husband and Emmi tells him that her husband died a few years back. Ali tells her that he feels comfortable in that bar because there are other Arab people there.
When Emmi tells him that she wants to leave, Ali accompanies her home. They both find that they are lonely people. Emmi has children but they are all married and busy taking care of their own families. Emmi invites Ali into her apartment and he agrees but on their way there they are seen by one of Emmi’s neighbors.
Emmi tells Ali that her husband was Polish and that he was a foreign worker during the war. Despite her parent’s disapproval, Emmi married her husband and they lived happily until he died during the Second World War because of liver problems. Ali tells her that he was never married and that he has five older sisters.
When Ali tells her that he wants to leave, Emmi tries to make him stay for a little bit more. Ali tells her that he lives in the other part of the city and that if he doesn’t catch the last tram, he will have to walk there. When Emmi finds that he shares a small room with another five men, she convinces him to sleep in her apartment that night and have breakfast with her in the morning.
Emmi prepares a room for Ali and leaves him alone. Ali soon finds that he can’t sleep and goes into Emmi’s room to talk. He starts to manifest his affection for her by caressing her hand and they sleep together.
The next day, Emmi is shocked when she thinks about what she has done. Ali urges her to not let fear consume her and to pursue her happiness.
Emmi goes to work and there she tells her colleagues about how she was chatted up by an Arab on the subway. The women then express their opinions about how Arab men don’t work, they live in conditions that they call inhuman because they want it so and that they only want money and sex. What is more, one of Emmi’s colleagues tell her that inside her apartment building there is a woman of about 50 years of age who has accepted an Arab into her home. The same woman continues to tell the others how now the woman is effectively shunned by the others in the apartment building and how everyone considers her as being a filthy whore.
After work, Emmi visits her daughter Krista who lives with her boyfriend. Emmi asks Eugene if he has foreign workmates and he gets angry when she asks. Just like many others, Eugene believes that foreigners, especially those who have a different skin color are swine and good for nothing.
Emmi tells her daughter that she had fallen in love with a man much younger than her and an Arab before leaving her house.
Emmi goes back to the bar where she meets Ali but she is treated coldly by the owner of the bar. Emmi waits for a bit but leaves quickly as she realizes that Ali is not there. When Emmi gets home, she sees Ali waiting for her in front of her apartment building. Emmi gets really happy and they go inside together.
A little bit later, they are visited by the landlord’s son who reminds Emmi that she is not allowed to sublet her apartment and that Ali must leave. Panicked, Emmi tells the landlord that they are planning to get married so the landlord leaves them alone.
Emmi tells Ali what she had said and he agrees that they should marry even though Emmi insists that she wasn’t talking seriously.
They get married and they decide to celebrate their marriage in the same bar they met while the bar owner and another girl watch from afar. The two girls express their belief that the couple will not last, claiming that it is unnatural.
After a week, Emmi calls her children and invites them to come to her house where she tells them that she got married. Then, she introduces Ali to them but their reaction is a negative one. Bruno, one of Emmi’s sons, wrecks the TV before storming out of the house. Her other son calls her a whore and tells her that she should forget that he is her son. Emmi’s daughter makes some humiliating remarks as well before leaving with her partner.
Soon, problems start to appear. A shopkeeper refuses to serve Ali and Emmi goes to argue with him. When she returns home, a few women in her apartment building tell her that she will have to clean the stairs twice a month because she bought dirt inside her house.
Three months after they got married, Emmi is visited by one of her coworkers asking her to fill in her shift because her sister died and she has to attend her funeral. Emmi presents Ali to her but when her coworker sees Ali, she leaves in a hurry and tells her that she won’t need help anymore.
Emmi tells Ali to invite his friends over to their house and Ali goes to the bar to see if his friends are there. He speaks for a little bit with the bartender who invites him over, promising to make him his favorite dish.
After Emmi’s coworkers find out about Ali, they ignore her completely. Emmi’s neighbors talk with the landlord to see if there is something they can do to make Ali and Emmi go but the landlord tells them that he sees nothing wrong in their relationship.
After a short while, Emmi proposes that they go away for a while, hoping that when they will return, things will be better.
When they return from their vacation, things seem to have taken a turn for the better but only because those around them realized that they needed Emmi’s help. The shopkeeper starts to behave nicely because he realized he lost a regular customer, Emmi’s neighbors started to treat her nicely because they need her cellar and her son Bruno tried to make amends with her mother because he needed her to babysit his child.
Emmi’s attitude changes as well. She tells Ali that he needs to adapt to the German culture and refuses to make him his favorite dish. Emmi also starts to order Ali around and treat him more like an object than like a person. When Emmi is visited by her coworkers, has presents Ali as being an exhibition object, boasting about his physique.
Ali goes to Barbara, the bartender and he asks her to make him couscous. After that, they start to have sexual intercourse.
When Ali returns home that night drunk and passes out in front of Emmi’s room but she doesn’t help him get to his bed.
A few nights later, he spends the night at Barbara’s place which pushes Emmi to go to his workplace to talk with him asking him to go back. Ali’s coworkers start to tease him about his ’’grandmother’’ and Emmi leaves.
Emmi goes to the bar where they first meet to try to make Ali return to her. Emmi asks the bartender to put the son on which she and Ali danced for the first time and Ali invites her to dance with him. They reconcile and during the dance, Ali collapses on the ground.
At the hospital, they find that Ali has stomach ulcer and that most likely he will be back in the hospital in six months. Emmi tells the doctor that she will do everything she can to prevent that and the film ends with Emmi sitting beside a sleeping Ali.