Julia is an alcoholic on the constant decline. She spends the nights partying, usually not knowing where she is, when she wakes up.
Because of that, she loses her job. Her only friend, Mitch, a recovering alcoholic himself, makes her go to an AA meeting, where she meets her neighbour, Elena.
A few days later, Julia passes out on the sidewalk in front of her apartment building. When she comes to, she's in Elena's flat. Elena starts to talk about her son Tommy, who lives with his grandfather, because his father died and Elena herself has a history of psychosis. The grandfather is very rich.
Elena tells Julia that she wants to kidnap her son and go back to Mexico with him and she needs Julia to help her, she would pay her $50,000.
Julia declines at first, but after a couple of drinks and overcoming a few doubts, she tells Elena that she'll do it.
But Julia is not satisfied with the arrangement and goes to her old friend Nick, a former crook. She asks him to help her kidnap the child and ask for a ransom from his grandfather. Nick says no.
Julia then goes to an acquaintance of hers, Leon, to ask him for help. She tells him that Elena owes her $5,000 and that she would split with him if helped her. He agrees to do it. Leon gets her a gun.
Elena explains the plan. The boy and his guardian will be swimming at the river in a couple of days time. Julia should wait in the car close to the place, while Elena gets Tommy and then Julia shall drive them to the border. Elena asks Julia not to drink that day.
Julia agrees to everything, getting very drunk before the whole thing. Mitch finds her and sleeps with her, telling her the whole story of how he lost his family through his alcoholism and that Julia should take care of herself and watch out. Julia leaves, not caring about what he said.
Later, she discovers that Elena doesn't have any money after all.
Finally, the day is here. Julia waits in her car, when Tommys guardian notices that he has a flat tire. He sees Julias car and walks up to her, asking for a car jack. She gives him one. When he returns and puts it back in the trunk, she hits him with the car, drives over him twice and then goes to get the boy.
She locks Tommy in the trunk and takes off. In panic, she drives to a motel with him, in the desert. In the motel, she makes him take sleeping pills, binds him up and calls the grandfather and asks for a ransom, 2 mio dollars.
They spend 2 days in preparation for the exchange. Julia and Tommy start to interact more.
Julia leaves Tommy in the desert, promising him that she will bring him to his mum, before she drives into the city to get the ransom. But before Julia gets the money from the locker at the bus station, as arranged, she notices that theres police around and leaves in a hurry.
When she comes back to the desert, Tommys gone. She spends the night looking for him, finally finding him in the morning, passed out and almost completely dehydrated. She gets him into her car, gives him water and then hides with him, not knowing what to do.
In the evening, the border patrol finds her car while they are looking for immigrants. Again panicking, Julia takes off and arrives in Tijuana, Mexico with Tommy.
Tommy starts to trust Julia and begins to look forward to meeting his mum. While they are shopping for clothes, Julia meets Diego, who offers himself as a tourist guide. She declines.
Later she gets a call from Tommy's grandfather who tells her to call Mitch. She does and Mitch says that he has been in contact with the grandfather and that he would come to wherever she was and bring her the 2 million dollars, no questions asked. She tells him to come to Tijuana, which he will the next evening.
In the evening, Julia and Tommy go out to get something to eat, running into Diego again.
The next morning, they both wake up at his house. Tommy's in bed with a girl, when Diego gets him and brings him to Julia. They cuddle for a while before getting up.
Julia enjoys the sun, when suddenly she notices that she doesn't know where Tommy is anymore. She gets the little girl Tommy woke up next to, to help her find Diego. Diego doesnt know where Tommy is, either, but is sure that he has been kidnapped.
Anxiously they wait for something to happen, when Miguel, a taxi driver, turns up with a message: Somebody kidnapped Tommy and they want $50,000 ransom from Julia, who they take for his mom.
Julia is devastated. She doesn't want something to happen to Tommy but she doesn't have the money either. But she tells Miguel that she will have the money in the evening and gives him her phone number. When he leaves, she leaves Diego behind and follows Miguel. He goes to the police station and her phone rings its the kidnappers.
When Miguel comes back out, she continues to follow him until hes at home. She surprises him there, demanding answers. They start to fight and she shoots him. Then she starts to rummage through the flat to find some hint about Tommy's location.
She finds nothing, but a little while later, a woman carrying groceries comes by looking for Miguel. On a whim, Julia follows her to an almost completely ruined apartment building. There she finds Santos and a friend of his, who have Tommy.
Santos and his colleague scream at her in Spanish and threaten to kill her. Santos asks her how she found him and she tells him that Diego told her, where they were.
Julia gets locked in with Tommy, promising him that she will get them out of there.
A short while later, Diego shows up. He works with Santos and says that Julia lies, he hasn't told her anything. Santos doesnt believe him and finally shoots him.
Santos friend leaves and Julia talks Santos into going with her and Tommy to the airport, where she would give him $1 million.
Before they can get very far, though, Santos's friend shows up again. Mitch calls Julia and Santos overhears him talking about $2 million. He demands everything from Julia. His friend takes Tommy with him and Santos drops off Julia at a car.
She drives to the airport, meets Mitch, who gives her the money and tells her that hell be waiting at the airport hotel for Tommy.
Julia drives back and meets Santos. She tells him that she's not Tommy's mother, but that she kidnapped him herself and that she would give him $1 million to get the boy back. If he doesn't agree, she says, then he can shoot Tommy, she doesn't care.
Santos agrees. They meet in the evening on two sides of a major, heavily traveled highway.
Santos runs over to Julia, she gives him the money and he tells his friend to let Tommy go. But Tommy gets stuck in the middle of the road. When Julia tries to get him, she loses her gun and Santos takes his chance.
He demands the other $1 million or he will shoot they boy. Julia tells him that the money is in the car and he and his friend take off, leaving them stranded in the middle of the road.