Jack (Karyo), an expatriate French-man living in a remote village in Papua New Guinea, is mourning the recent, sudden death of his wife Rose (Finsterer). On a business trip to Melbourne, he meets and immediately falls in love with Kate (Griffiths), an Australian romantic novelist. Kate finds him both charming and interesting, and is desperate to do some research for her next book. So she returns with Jack to the tropics, but her dreams of an idyllic existence on the Sepik River are soon shattered when he reveals a strange obsession with his deceased wife and the distressing circumstances of her death.
To Have And To Hold is a melodramatic study of romantic obsession - in which the two central characters project their fantasies onto each other - - that borrows heavily from the likes of Rebecca, Vertigo and Heart Of Darkness. By far its strongest suit is the way Hillcoat recreates the lawless and oppressive tropical environment in which Jack and Kate find themselves. But this slab of Australian Gothic becomes increasingly overwrought, protracted and heavy-handed.