- Directors: Danny Boyle
- Producers: Andrew Macdonald
- Writers: Alex Garland, John Hodge
- Genres: Adventure, Drama, Thriller
- Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton, Virginie Ledoyen, Guillaume Canet, Paterson Joseph, Lars Arentz Hansen, Robert Carlyle
Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), a young American backpacking in Thailand, has come to Southeast Asia with the intention of experiencing something radically different from his familiar life. He hears of an island paradise commonly held to be urban legend. According to rumor, a secret community of travelers who have left behind their former lives inhabits the island. Richard initially dismisses the island’s existence, but later meets Daffy (Robert Carlyle), who identifies himself as a former inhabitant and gives Richard a map. Shortly afterward, Daffy commits suicide.
Richard then meets the very beautiful FranÃ§oise (Virginie Ledoyen) and her handsome boyfriend, Ã‰tienne (Guillaume Canet), and convinces them to accompany him to the island. They travel a great distance from Bangkok to the shores of Ko Phangan, in the Gulf of Thailand. While there, Richard befriends a pair of American surfers, Sammy and Zeph, who mention the legend. He does not admit his knowledge, but he copies the map and slides it under their door.
To reach the island, Richard, FranÃ§oise and Ã‰tienne must hop between several adjacent islands. When they first arrive on the island, they come across an enormous marijuana plantation, guarded by local men armed with AK-47 assault rifles. They manage to evade detection by the marijuana farmers and find the community of travelers. They are seen by Keaty, who takes them to the beach community. They are interrogated by the island’s leader, Sal (Tilda Swinton), regarding their knowledge of the island. Initially, the community is hostile towards the trio, but when Richard mentions Daffy, they gradually relent, and the three are rapidly integrated into the beach’s laid-back yet structured lifestyle of work and play.
The film ends with Richard returning to his former lifestyle of travel. While stopping by an internet cafe to check his e-mail, he receives an attached image from FranÃ§oise. It is a photograph of the entire beach community taken by FranÃ§oise, with the community jumping midair in unison, looking very bright and happy, taken right after Richard and Sal made their supply run to the mainland. Upon further inspection, Richard sees an animated handwritten inscription over the image: ‘Parallel Universe. Love, FranÃ§oise’.