Martial (Daniel Auteuil) is discharged from a mental institution where he spent a few years due to a serious nervous breakdown. During his hospitalization, he ceases to speak with everyone, including his wife Régine (Thérèse Liotard), whom he had encouraged to find a new partner soon after entering the clinic. Upon his return, he finds his mother (Danielle Darrieux), a busy business woman who owns a supermarket chain. She's convinced that her son, who by now hardly talks to anyone after his experience, will be able to find himself again if tasked with some responbibilities. Soon enough, he's sent to Limoges on a business trip to check on one of their stores in the hope to reinvigorate its failing business. Once he arrives, Martial is faced with responsibilities he had never imagined, including dealing with the store's personnel. Due to his lack of people skills, this job is a difficult task. Meantime, as instructed by his mother, he checks on the accounting handled by the manager, Mr. Fonfrin (Jean-Pierre Marielle), and he soon realizes that the reason for the branch's close-to-failure status is that Fonfrin is padding the books. Due to his inability to take charge for anything in life, Martial fails to perform his duties and instead befriends the crooked manager, who invites the naive heir to join him and his wife (Dominique Lavanant) for dinner one night. He immediately falls in love with Francine (Sandrine Bonnaire), the maid, an eccentric young woman with whom he has a brief relationship. Martial unconditionally showers her with all kinds of gifts, as this is the first time in several years that he feels close to someone; it is a short episode that makes his dejected life momentarily look brighter. He lets his work fall behind for her but, unfortunately, the romance doesn't last long and, upon his return to Paris, he is deemed incompetent and re-admitted to the hospital.
Daniel Auteuil as Martial Pasquier
Sandrine Bonnaire as Francine
Danielle Darrieux as Madame Pasquier — Martial's Mother
Jean-Pierre Marielle as Mr. Fonfier
Dominique Lavanant as Mrs. Fonfier
Thérèse Liotard as Régine — Martial's wife
Vincent Lindon as Fernand
Jean-Pierre Castaldi as Max
Gérard Ismaël as Rocky
Tanya Lopert as Madame Maillotte
Philippe Laudenbach as Monsieur Maillotte
Dominique Blanc as Georgette
New York Times' Vincent Canby described Claude Sautet as an artist who often uses his films to lambast bourgeoisie's hypsocrisy, a trait that is seen in this and other movies he directed. In Quelques jours avec moi, he uses Martial's character to counter the above, as he represents its antithesis. In Le Figaro, Nicolas Jouenne notes his perception of the film as a comedy at first, rather hilarious, that swerves onto a tragedy toward the end.