Jamie and Ste (short for Steve) are teenage neighbors in a working-class housing project in London. Jamie is bookish and shy while Ste is more athletic. Neither one has an ideal home life: Jamie's mother Sandra is bitter over her financial situation and her romantic life, but she's willing to settle for a bloke named Tony and cover up her disappointment with scathing humor; Ste's father and brother abuse him in the form of escalating domestic squabbles and actual beatings. After one such fight, Ste asks Sandra if he can stay at her house and she lets him and Jamie bunk together. As their friendship grows, Jamie begins to realize he has stronger feelings for Ste. Can those feelings ever be openly expressed by the two boys? Jonathan Harvey's Beautiful Thing dares to dream that they can.