Desmond Doss, fils d'un ancien soldat de la Première Guerre mondiale, veut apporter sa pierre à l'édifice lorsqu'éclate la guerre du Pacifique. En tant qu'objecteur de conscience, il souhaite s'engager mais refuse de tuer ou de porter une arme au combat en raison de ses croyances adventistes. Après de difficiles négociations avec l'armée, il est finalement affecté au poste d'auxiliaire sanitaire.
Laura Burney (Julia Roberts) lives in a beautiful home by the beach on Cape Cod with her husband, Martin Burney (Patrick Bergin), a charming, handsome and wealthy investment counselor who is also possessive, abusive, and controlling. It becomes apparent that he has obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). Laura tries to abide his rules, but suffers under the strain of doing so. One day, Martin believes Laura has been flirting with an attractive neighbor, and he physically assaults her in a jealous rage. The abuse has been ongoing, and started immediately after their wedding. In an effort to escape Martin, Laura plans and fakes her own death at sea in a storm while the couple are boating. Because Laura had deliberately led Martin to believe that she could not swim, he believed she had died once she was lost overboard. However, Laura was able to swim safely to shore, because she had recently taken swimming lessons at the YWCA. Laura secretly returns home, retrieves some clothing and cash she had hidden away in preparation, disguises herself, and leaves home after flushing her wedding ring down the toilet.
Taking place in the Southern United States between Winter 1909 and Autumn 1937, the movie tells the life of a poor African American woman named Celie Harris (Whoopi Goldberg) whose abuse begins when she is young. By the time she is 14, she has already had two children by her father Alphonso "James" Harris (Leonard Jackson). He takes them away from her at childbirth and forces the young Celie (Desreta Jackson) to marry a wealthy young local widower Albert Johnson, known to her only as "Mister" (Danny Glover), who treats her like a slave. Albert makes her clean up his disorderly household and take care of his unruly children. Albert beats and rapes her often, intimidating Celie into submission and near silence. Celie's sister Nettie (Akosua Busia) comes to live with them, and there is a brief period of happiness as the sisters spend time together and Nettie begins to teach Celie how to read. This is short-lived; after Nettie refuses Albert's predatory affections once too often, he kicks her out. Before being run off by Albert, Nettie promises to write to Celie saying, "Nothing but death can keep me from it!".
Successful lobbyist Leah Vaughn (Sanaa Lathan) is unhappy in her relationship with her boyfriend Dave King (Morris Chestnut), as he does not feel ready to commit to her wishes of starting a family, causing them to break up. Two months later, she ends up meeting the charming Carter Duncan (Michael Ealy), who works in IT for another company. They quickly grow close, and he manages to work his way into the hearts of her friends as well as her mother and father. On their way home from a trip to San Francisco to meet her parents, a stranger inquires Leah about Carter's Dodge Charger at a gas station. Carter viciously attacks the man before the mortified Leah, and he takes off when the station's owner orders them to leave at gunpoint. Leah decides to break up with Carter that night, distraught over his actions and his desperate attempts to apologize.
The film begins in a Los Angeles diner where a waitress named Slim (Jennifer Lopez) works with her best friend, Ginny (Juliette Lewis). She receives romantic advances from a customer who teases her about her name. Another man in the diner, Mitch Hiller (Billy Campbell) reveals that the customer had made a bet that he would be able to convince Slim to sleep with him. Soon after, Slim falls in love with and marries Mitch, and they have a child named Gracie (Tessa Allen). Years later, Slim finds out Mitch has been cheating on her with a woman named Darcelle. She confronts him and he admits it, but also insisting Darcelle means nothing to him. Slim becomes angry and threatens to leave, which enrages Mitch who becomes violent, slapping and punching her in the face. He gives her a warning, saying that he makes the money and gets to do whatever he likes, implying he wants an open marriage. Mitch refuses to stop his affair unless she wants to fight him. The next day, Slim confides in Mitch's mother (Janet Carroll), she asks her what she did to make Mitch angry, implying he has a history of physical abuse. Ginny advises Slim to leave Mitch, but Slim doesn't want to hurt Gracie. She then goes to pick up Gracie from school, only to discover Mitch had already picked her up. Panicked that Mitch might have left town with her, she calls Mitch, who tells her that he took Gracie to the zoo.
Dolores Claiborne (Bates) works as a domestic servant on a Maine island. The film opens with Dolores having a struggle with her elderly, paralyzed employer Vera Donovan (Judy Parfitt) in her mansion, after which Vera falls down the staircase. Dolores ransacks the kitchen and is then caught by a mailman as she stands over Vera with a rolling pin, apparently intending to kill her. Vera dies and the police begin a murder investigation.
Jack Torrance arrives at the mountain isolated Overlook Hotel, 25 miles from the closest town, Sidewinder, Colorado, interviewing for the position of winter caretaker, planning to use the hotel's solitude to write. The hotel, built on the site of a Native American burial ground, becomes snowed-in during the winter; it is closed from October to May. Manager Stuart Ullman warns Jack that a previous caretaker, Charles Grady, developed cabin fever and killed his family and himself. In Boulder, Jack's son, Danny Torrance, while brushing his teeth, has a terrifying premonition about the hotel, viewing a cascade of blood emerging from an elevator door, before falling in trance. Jack's wife, Wendy, tells a doctor that Danny has an imaginary friend named Tony, and that Jack has given up drinking because he dislocated Danny's shoulder following a binge.
Marv (Mickey Rourke) regains consciousness on a highway overlooking the Projects, surrounded by several dead young men and a crashed police car, and with no memory of how he got there. He retraces his steps, recalling that since it's Saturday, he watched Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) dance at Kadie's Saloon. Stepping outside, he encounters four rich frat boys burning a homeless man alive. When Marv intervenes, the leader of the frat boys shoots him in the arm, calling him "Bernini Boy," which Marv mishears as "Bernie." They flee; Marv follows, stealing a Police car on the way, which he crashes into their car, leading to his blackout and memory loss. He follows the two surviving frat boys into The Projects, the neighborhood where he grew up. With the assistance of the deadly residents lurking in the shadows, he dispatches the frat boys. He questions the leader about being called "Bernini Boy" and learns that it is the brand of coat he is wearing. After slitting the boy's throat, he considers his coat and realizes he can't remember how he acquired it.
Born and raised in a small Tennessee town, Nutbush, Anna Mae Bullock (Tina's original name) grows up in an unhappy family, with her parents later leaving and abandoning her and only taking her sister. Following her grandmother's death, she relocates to St. Louis, reuniting with her mother and close sister Alline. Anna Mae pursues a chance to be a professional singer after seeing charismatic bandleader Ike Turner perform one night. Later she wins her spot in Turner's band after singing onstage and he begins mentoring her. In time, an unexpected romance develops between the two after she moves into Ike's home. Shortly afterwards, they marry and begin having musical success together as Ike and Tina Turner.
The film traces the sexual awakening of Theresa Dunn, a young teacher of Irish American descent who is searching for excitement outside her ordered life, in which she teaches deaf children. Suffering from severe body image issues following a childhood surgery that left a large scar on her back, Theresa finds first love with her older, married university professor, Martin, who ends the affair just before her graduation. The affair leaves Theresa feeling used, and she begins daydreaming about being reunited with her professor.
The film revolves mainly around a scene in which Cynthia Kellogg (Demi Moore) is interrogated by two investigators at the police station. The deposition given by Cynthia is supported by detailed flashbacks throughout the film. The interrogation arouses particular suspicion about whether Cynthia's own husband could have informed the police about the incident and anything which his wife could have confided in him.
An Iranian physician, Sayed Bozorg "Moody" Mahmoody wants to visit Iran with his American family. He claims that his Iranian family wants to meet his wife Betty and daughter Mahtob, and asks them to come with him for a two-week visit. Despite her deep fears about visiting Iran, particularly due to the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Betty reluctantly agrees. Upon their arrival, they are all greeted warmly by Moody's family, but shortly before their flight back to America, Moody announces to his wife that he wishes for them to stay in Iran. Betty realises that she has been deceived by her husband, even though Moody took an oath that they would return to America, "swearing" on the sacred Koran. When she protests, Moody strikes her, and nobody in Moody's family sympathises with her.
In the town of Brixton, Georgia, widow Annie Wilson is the resident fortune-teller who possesses extrasensory perception. Jessica King (Holmes), the fiancée of local school principal Wayne Collins (Kinnear) disappears.
Beth left her small town and, despite her parents' disapproval, married Jake "the Muss" Heke. After 18 years they live in an unkempt state house in an unnamed New Zealand city and have five children. Their interpretations of life and being Māori are tested. Their eldest daughter, Grace, keeps a journal in which she chronicles events as well as stories she tells her younger siblings.
Acting on the advice of an anonymous note, Takuro Yamashita (Kōji Yakusho) returns home early one night to find his wife in bed with another man. He kills her and then turns himself in to the police. After being released from prison, he opens a barber shop and brings along a pet eel which he talks to while mostly ignoring conversation with others. He helps save Keiko Hattori (Misa Shimizu) from a suicide attempt, resulting in her working at the shop. She starts developing romantic feelings for him, but he acts nonchalant and refuses the boxed lunches she prepares for him when he goes eel-hunting with the fisherman Jukichi Takada. Takuro recognizes the local garbageman from prison and the garbageman starts to stalk Takuro and Keiko, believing that Takuro isn't repentant enough for his crimes. He attempts to rape Keiko and leaves a letter revealing Takuro's past on the door of his barber shop, but it is removed by Takada. Keiko finds out that she is pregnant with the baby of Eiji Dojima (Tomorowo Taguchi), a loan shark, and that it is too late for an abortion. One night the garbageman goes to Takuro's shop and lectures him, accusing him of killing his wife out of jealousy. The two get into an altercation and Takuro fends him off. Keiko goes back to her old company, where she is the vice-president, and retrieves her mother's bankbook. This results in Dojima angrily going to the barber shop, along with henchman, and accusing her of theft since he was planning to reinvest the funds into his business. Dojima's group and Keiko's fight, with the false revelation that Keiko is pregnant with Takuro's child. The police find that Keiko's mother never signed power of attorney papers for Dojima, but a parole violation meeting for Takuro causes him to be sent back to prison for a year. Takuro lets his eel go and accepts a boxed lunch from Keiko, who promises to wait for him with her baby.