England,1904. Henslowe Fisk (Jeremy Northam) and his ailing father, Horatio Fisk (Peter O’Toole), decide to go to a lecture given by the Swami Nala Prash (Art Malik) on reincarnation, called ‘The Transmigration of Souls’. While there, they meet one Dean Spanley (Sam Neill) as well as Wrather (Bryan Brown), a self-described facilitator from the Colonies.
Later encountering the Dean at his father’s club, and then in the grounds of the cathedral, Henslowe takes this to be more than coincidence and decides to ask the man to dinner, enticing him with the promise of his favourite tipple Imperial Tokay, a rare Hungarian sweet wine. Using Wrather to procure a bottle, Henslowe begins a series of dinners between with Spanley, in which – after two glasses of the wine – the
Dean begins to recount strange recollections of his past life.
Incredulous at first, Henslowe becomes intrigued by the Dean’s clear-headed accounts of his days during his former life. But as these alcohol-induced investigations continue, it becomes clear that Dean Spanley has an intimate connection to someone close to Henslowe, a revelation that will ultimately prove incredibly cathartic for all concerned.