The daughter of a starving English artist and a French chorus girl, Becky is orphaned at a young age. Even as a child, she yearns for a more glamorous life than her birthright promises.
As she leaves Miss Pinkerton’s Academy at Chiswick, Becky resolves to conquer English society by any means possible. She deploys all of her wit, guile, and sexuality as she makes her way up into high society during the first quarter of the 19th century.
Becky’s ascension to the heights of society commences when she gains employment as governess to the daughters of eccentric Sir Pitt Crawley (Bob Hoskins). Becky wins over the children, and the Crawley family’s rich spinster aunt Matilda (Eileen Atkins) as well.
The rural Hampshire household comes to find her indispensable, and Matilda comes to confide in the bright young woman. But Becky knows that she cannot be a true part of English society until she moves to the city.