Joe and Kirsten get married, and have a baby, and all seems right with the world. But as Joe introduces Kirsten to his drinking habit, suggesting that she join him in a tipple, they both slide further and further into alcoholism - with devastating consequences.
Aeons away from his trademark comedy schtick, Blake Edwards' alcoholic drama still holds up well, thanks to a script that steers clear of the usual Hollywood clichés about alcoholism, treating it as the fatal illness that it is.
Jack Lemmon (debatably a career best) and Lee Remick (definitely a career best) shift from happy young lovers to disenfranchised drunks, with a scene of Lemmon destroying a greenhouse being particularly gruelling. Their performances are riveting, playing out the agonies and ecstacies of addiction in a downward spiralling vortex that will inevitably lead to tragedy, but never succumbs to sentimentality.
The second half occasionally descends into melodrama, but for the most part this is bleak, non-judgemental, riveting stuff.