Cecilia is a waitress in New Jersey, living a dreary life during the Great Depression. Her only escape from her mudane reality is the movie theatre. After losing her job, Cecilia goes to see 'The Purple Rose of Cairo' in hopes of raising her spirits, where she watches dashing archaeologist Tom Baxter time and again.
He plays duel roles, one role is the silent movie character who walks off the silver screen and into the real world.
She goes to see the movie of the title several times and then at one show, the main character in the movie (played by Jeff Daniels)speaks to Celia directly from the screen saying, "You must really love this movie, don't you?.