After 10 years of imprisonment, Weiwei is released in Shanghai, in the South-East of Chine. As a young boy of a disrupted family, he had made the wrong acquaintances and had been spent most of his time as a young adult in prison, leaving him with a very biased picture of “life outside”. Even if the prison visitor, Mrs Wu, had warned him many times, the actual reality. Once the moving moments of seeing his mother again is behind him, he discovers a gigantic town that has nothing to do anymore with the one he new 10 years ago.
In addition, he is very quickly confronted with thousand difficulties thrown in the way of every ex-convict. To start with, obtaining a simple, administrative residence permit turns out to be a nightmare, never finding a job or a roof over his head. Every day a little more riddled with doubt, he is lost, balancing between anger and depression.
Thankfully he is constantly encouraged in his self-esteem as well as in his outlook on his future by his "second mother" Mrs. Wu who supports as best as she can his attempts to find a place in modern day China; society; like many others, which is quicker to exclude than to reinsert.
As viewers, we are left with one question: Weiwei, will he get the feeling that his long presence in prison was useful, or will he conclude that it was a lost sentence?