Germany 1772 - the young and tumultuous Johann Goethe (Alexander Fehling) aspires to be a poet but after failing his law exams, is sent by his father (Henry Huebchen) to a sleepy provincial court to mend his ways. At first, he tries to do his best and wins the praise and friendship of his superior Kestner (Moritz Bleibtreu). But then Lotte (Miriam Stein) enters his life and nothing is the same as before. However, Johann is unaware that Lotte is in fact already promised by her father (Burghart Klaußner) to Kestner. The dramatic and unfulfilled love between the poet and Lotte was the template for his masterpiece "The Sorrows of Young Werther."