In Czechoslovakia in the early 1930s a newly-built house – a modernist masterpiece with a glass-walled room – is home to Liesel Landauer (Hanna Alstrom) and her industrialist husband Viktor (Claes Bang). Liesel’s closest friend Hana (Carice Van Houten) is a frequent guest.
While Liesel is content in her marriage, Hana is a sensual free spirit. She’s in love with Liesel, and though Liesel feels the pull of something beyond friendship she always turns away.
The life Liesel seeks to protect in the light-filled calm of the Glass Room is quickly cut short. Viktor is Jewish. The blow to Liesel is doubled when she discovers Viktor’s affair with the young refugee woman the family has given shelter to. Liesel confesses her love for Hana, but in the panic and chaos of Nazi invasion she’s forced to flee the country.
Hana writes to Liesel, describing the hardships of occupation. An affair with a German engineer (Roland Møller) takes her back to the house, now home to a team of aeronautical designers. From Switzerland, Liesel writes of the emptiness of exile and her now loveless marriage to Viktor.
Hana faces the hunger and horror of the war, struggling to feed the infant son conceived in Liesel’s house. The house itself is almost destroyed in an air raid when a bomb lands in the garden.
By the late 1950s, the house has become the property of the Communist Party. When Hana visits with her son, he suggests she should try to contact Liesel. But they have to wait another ten years to meet again.
In 1968, Hana hosts a fund-raising reception to rescue the house from decay. Liesel accepts the invitation to attend as guest of honor.
When Liesel walks down the steps into the Glass Room she only wants to see Hana. When the reception is over, Hana and Liesel are finally alone in the Glass Room. This time they let nothing stand in the way of their love.