The Great Pretender is a roundelay set in the off-off-Broadway world of New York theatre. Trying to exorcise her past, lovesick French director Mona comes to America to mount a play based on her last relationship: a tumultuous affair with hard living street photographer Nick. For the on-stage rendition of her real-life story, Mona casts seemingly naïve French actress Thérèse to play herself and bumbling Brooklynite Chris to play Nick. Mona develops feelings for Chris, Chris falls madly in love with Mona, while Thérèse falls in love with Chris. The film is told in five chapters, each centred around a different character, culminating in the production of the play.