The Lover is centered on the life of a young girl who got involved in an illegal relationship with a Chinese guy who was very rich. This girl who was still in her teens was very much younger than the guy she was dating. In the film, the girl is known as the Young girl while the Chinese man is known as the Chinaman. They were both aware of the fact that their relationship was forbidden and if anyone else found out about it, they would both get into trouble.
The young girl was the daughter of very poor French parents who were based in Vietnam. She was very pretty and always wore an old dress, a soft hat with curled brims meant for men and painted her lips red whenever she was out of the house. Her mother was a teacher in a local school. She also had two brothers with the older one being very fierce and the younger one more reserved and shy.
It all started when she was crossing the river next to where they live on a ferry, when she came across this Chinese guy whose father was a real estate business man and had a lot of money. The guy was a drop out and saw himself as a wealthy guy who was out to enjoy his father's money by being promiscuous with women.
After having a conversation with the girl, he invited her to join him in his car as they were heading the same direction instead of her waiting for the ferry. The young girl accepted the offer and rode with him. During their conversations they both lied to each other about their ages. The girl claimed to be older than she actually was, while the guy claimed he was younger.
The two after realizing they could not be together, as the girl was due to return to Paris with her family and the guy was already betrothed decided to get into a secret relationship for the short term. The girls' family was disappointed when they found out all she been doing but encouraged her to continue seeing the guy when they found out he had so much money.
At the end, the Chinaman married the girl chosen for him by his father while the young girl returned to France.
The film which was produced by Claude Berri was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. The film was written by Marguerite Duras.