When schoolteacher Hanna Solinger returns with her two children to live with her mother near Munich, she is assigned to work in a tough school in a tough neighborhood. So tough, in fact, that she's ready to quit after just a single day. She won't return to that class, but refuses to tell the principal that one of the students, 13-year-old Christos, robbed her at the train station just a day earlier. Christos lives with his mother and two brothers in a single-room welfare apartment and when he isn't at the station or the subway turning tricks and stealing, he's looking out for his brother Maikis. When Maikis is framed by a rival gang and arrested in the schoolyard, Christos implores Hanna to stay and do what she can for Maikis. But Hanna has had enough and rejects his plea. Enter Xaver, a former music teacher who has become a social worker with a special interest in troubled kids. Xaver persuades Hanna to stay on just long enough to try his music-based teaching methods. When these methods work, she agrees to take on Mailis' case.