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Ben Affleck plays Buddy, an advertising exec who specializes in ad campaigns for large companies. While at an airport, he switches tickets with a man, so that this man can see his kids sooner. The plane crashes and Buddy is shocked.
It turns out, that the man who switched with Buddy, was the husband of Abby (Gwyneth Paltrow). She at first doesn't believe her husband was on the plane, because it was not his planned flight, but eventually has to accept that her husband is dead.
Over the next year, Buddy goes into an alcoholic downward spiral and hits rock bottom while accepting an award for one of his ad campaigns. He passes out in front of a large crowd. From here, he goes to 3 months of rehab, then is released and is sober. He begins to go through the 12 steps, and one of which is to make amends to someone without them knowing it.
He finds Abby, and wants to help her. She is a real estate agent now, so he offers to help her sell a big property. They hit it off and next go to a Mets game. Buddy is a little reluctant, because he is supposed to remain anonymous for the 12 steps thing to be true, but he goes anyway.
From here their relationship turns to romance and continues to get closer and closer. It is now that he is becoming extremely conflicted, because she still doesn't know that he is the one who switched with her husband that night. Unfortunately for him, she finds out without him telling her, so she if furious at him for lying. She tells him she doesn't ever want to see or hear from him again, and he begs for her not to do this.
Buddy is called to appear in court in a case against the airline. Families have sued the airline because of negligence of the staff, and how they let Buddy switch tickets without going through the correct protocol. Buddy tells his company, (which represents the airline in ad campaigns) that he will lie and say he didn't switch tickets( to protect his clients). Once on the stand however, he tells the truth and makes a little speech about how he regretted it. This gets him fired.
Abby is watching the case on court tv and finally sees him telling the truth. As he is packing his stuff to move out of his apartment, Abby shows up.
They talk for a little while and he asks her if they can please try and see how things go. She agrees and the movie ends as they walk together on the beach.
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