In 1976, two respected scientists, Ben Morin and his wife Catherine quit their jobs at the university to conduct an experiment they think will revolutionize our understanding of human identity. The project aims to raise three children contrarily to their genetic predispositions to prove the ultimate power of nurture over nature. They want to prove that everyone has the same potential to become anything. Maya, a newborn girl adopted from two feebleminded parents, is raised to be smart, while Maurice, a newborn boy adopted from two anger-prone parents, is raised to be a pacifist. Finally, their own biological son Luke, who comes from a long lineage of scientific brains, is raised to become a revered artist. The experiment will reveal little scientific truth, but rather lead Ben and Catherine to discover the true value of family.