Based on a novel by Leo Tolstoy, the film never transcends its origins, relying heavily as it does on novel-like voice over narration. The story takes as its themes jealousy and obsession, and is built around the sonata by Beethoven known as the Kreutzer. A Julliard trained pianist meets and marries a rich philanthropist, and eventually gives up her career after one, then two children. She finds herself trapped in the life she didn’t really want to lead. At her husbands urging, she takes up playing again in preparation for a benefit concert in their home. She selects as her partner a brilliant young violinist, who suggests the Kreutzer. They practice and spend a lot of time together in rehearsals.
The husband, Edgar (Danny Huston) becomes increasingly jealous in an obsessive way which does not contribute to the heath of their relationship. His fears become a self-fulfilling prophecy – or do they? The questions of her faithfulness is never clearly resolved and is left to the imagination of the audience.
The wife and pianist Abigail (Elisabeth Röhm) is quite good, but Danny Huston has to do all the heavy lifting and appears not quite up to the task, though admittedly, an actor who has to carry a film through extensive narration has an almost impossible task.