Xavier Alvarez is a small-time architect from Aix-en-Provence perpetually searching for social recognition. He set himself up in business and prospers, but can't manage to secure an important public works contract that would fulfill his dreams of greatness.
He therefore decides to throw himself body and soul into the electoral campaign of Vincent Cluzet, the outsider candidate running for mayor. Xavier is convinced that Cluzet will return the favor if he is elected.
By dint of effort and cunning, he manages to discredit the favorite and to get his protégé elected. But their sincere friendship, formed during the conquest of power, transforms when it comes up against the limits of personal interest and ambition.