The year is 1984. After suffering from a weak heart for most of his adult life ALFREDO SALVATORI, a gentleman in his 60s, is awaiting a heart transplant. As his health declines, he decides to hire a live-in carer for safety.
MARIA HENDRIX, an out of work and recently single lady in her 40s, moves in with Alfredo. She is immediately charmed by him, but he keeps her at an arm’s length at first. As their friendship grows closer, he finds himself compelled to tell her who he once was.
We’re taken back to the late 1950s, when Alfredo – or FREDDIE HEART as he was then known – was a young man in his 30s with a successful career as a movie star and singer. However, not all is as great as it could be, with Freddie struggling to cope with the downsides of fame. In addition to loneliness, a series of threatening letters sends him on a downward spiral of alcohol and drug abuse that very nearly ends him.
It’s only when he meets GLORIA SWAN, a sweet yet outspoken woman in her early 30s, that things change. He realizes that in order to have a proper relationship with someone who actually cares about him, he has to make some changes. After going through rehab, he marries Gloria and takes the necessary steps to end his movie career to focus on his singing. However, the years of substance abuse has left him with a weak heart, and he eventually has a heart attack.
Forced to take a step back, he brings Gloria to Rome, Italy. At the lavish party of the owner of a concert hall, he comes face to face with his tormentor: RICCARDO COSTA, a mafioso in his 50s, who’s spent years sending him threatening letters. A confrontation between the two sends Riccardo flying down the stairs, leaving him with no choice but to make Freddie an offer he cannot refuse.
During the stay at a health clinic for his heart in Rome, Freddie dies of a heart attack – or so the world thinks. Gloria, who’s kept left in the dark about her husband’s deal with the mafia for 24 hours, commits suicide before Riccardo’s minions can tell her that he’s not actually diseased. With a heavy heart, Freddie takes the opportunity to start over and begins living as Alfredo Salvatori – his Italian given name.
After yet another near-death experience, and having finally told Maria everything about himself, he proposes to her and the two quickly marry. On their way out of the chapel, Alfredo collapses and is rushed to hospital where they’re told there’s nothing more to do for him. He finally reveals the truth about Gloria, therein releasing his guilt for causing her death. Making sure that Maria will be OK without him, Alfredo dies a happy man – free from the ghosts of his past.