The film begins in a flashback from the titular character, Antoine. We are introduced to his fixation with female hairdressers which began at a young age. The film uses flashbacks throughout and there are frequent parallels drawn with the past. Though Antoine tells Mathilde that 'the past is dead', his life is evidence that on some level the past repeats itself. As a young boy he fantasised about a hairdresser who committed suicide and as a man in his 50s he begins an affair with a hairdresser which ends after ten years in her suicide. However there are differences, Mathilde commits suicide because she is so happy she is afraid of the happiness she has found with Antoine ending.
We are unsure what Antoine has done with his life; we know, however, that he has fulfilled his childhood ambition: to marry a haidresser. The reality proves to be every bit as wonderful as the fantasy and the two enjoy an enigmatic, enclosed and enchanting relationship. The final sequence shows Antoine, in the salon, dancing to Eastern music just as he has done throughout his life. His last line is the enigmatic comment that the hairdresser will return.
The soundtrack () was composed by Michael Nyman and also contains a great deal of Middle Eastern popular music. It was first released as an album in Japan by Soundtrack Listeners Communications (SLC) September 21, 1992 and has subsequently been released elsewhere.