It is New Year's Eve 1989. Maria lives with her teenage daughter in Rotterdam and is getting ready for a party with friends. Then the doorbell rings and her ex-husband Karol is standing on the doorstep. He has fled the new regime in his country but is not welcomed with open arms by his ex-wife and daughter. In a flashback the film shows how the impudent Maria and the serious Karol first meet at a dance in an Eastern-European country. Karol turns out to be a secret policeman who infiltrates intellectual circles in search of 'enemies of the people'. At first, the progressive Maria accepts that, but she gradually starts to have her doubts. Winter '89 is a love drama largely shot in the Czech Republic and set against the backdrop of political reality in the former Communist Eastern Block.