For ten years Chinese orphan Mei Mei (Zhu Lin) has been supported by donations from her Australian sponsor Dean Randall (Guy Pearce) - who sends her postcards that describe his idyllic family life. At 16, when the orphanage choir tours Australia, Mei Mei discovers the shocking truth - Randall, who she thought was the perfect father figure, is actually a convict in prison for manslaughter. Randall never imagined he would ever meet Mei Mei and wants nothing to do with her. His donations were just an attempt to dull the guilt of his past crimes. But undeterred by his reluctance and recognizing his loneliness, Mei Mei slips away from the choir every day to visit Randall in prison. In order to make money to stay in Australia, Mei Mei naively becomes entangled with Randall's crooked associates. To save Mei Mei from his fate, Randall must make an impossible sacrifice. But by making it - he might not be just saving Mei Mei - he might be saving them both.