John Sayles second feature, Lianna, is about a woman who finds herself starting life over after coming out of the closet as a lesbian. Lianna (Linda Griffiths) is married to Dick Massey (Jon De Vries), a charismatic English professor who also teaches film classes, and has two children Spencer (Jesse Solomon) and Theda (Jessica Wight MacDonald). Lianna's life is a succession of domestic errands and boring faculty parties, however her heaviest cross to bear is dealing with her waning marriage to Dick. They married when Lianna was still an undergraduate, and the domineering style that works well for Dick in the classroom is beginning to wear thin at home. In addition, Lianna often finds herself consoling her children after they have been verbally one-upped by their father. In order to find intellectual stimulus, Lianna takes a college extension child-psychology course taught by Ruth (Jane Hallaren). When Lianna catches Dick having an affair with a young coed, she finds comfort and eventually true love in the arms of Ruth. However, this comes with a price as everything in her life is turned upside down.