In Kac, Serbia, a young Mileva is admiring a crystal and noting the light refracting off of it. Mileva's father, who is impressed by her intellectual abilities, asks her if she learned about refractions in school; however, she informs her father that she learned about in a book, not in school.
In an all-boys school in the city of Zagreb, Mileva is with her father who is speaking to headmaster Loncar, attempting to get him to allow her to take the entrance exam due to her intelligence. However, Loncar informs them that girls have no place at his school, but Mileva shows him that she's been reading a book by Faraday on electromagnetic theory and displays her adept skill and knowledge on the subject. After some consideration, Loncar agrees to let her take the exam, which she passes.
Later, at the Marić household, Mileva eavesdrops on her mother Marija, who is struggling to comprehend her daughter going to school when she was born lame and a woman, not thinking that she needs that all on her shoulders. Milos, however, supports Mileva going to school, due to her having passed the entrance exam. Marija then brings up the fact that no man will marry Mileva for her mind, but Mileva, who is finished listening to the conversation, enters and informs her mother that she has no plans on marriage and wants to be a scientist.
Mileva starts her education at the school in Zagreb and sits next to classmate Emile, a young boy whom Mileva helps with school work. She later asks him if they would like to study together in the library, he agrees, but as soon as she walks away he begins to mock her physical disability. This causes her to cry and run away.
At one point, Mileva takes, and passes, the Zurich Polytechnic entrance exam. She scores very high on the mathematics portion.
At Zurich Polytechnic, Mileva is working in a classroom when Albert Einstein, a new student, enters. He readily gives her his apologies for entering the wrong room as he is ignorant that Mileva, a female, would be in his physics class. Mileva, however, easily displays her intelligence to him and throws questions at him to why a woman could not handle such a class as physics. Before Albert could answer, however, Professor Weber enters the classroom and introduces Albert to Mileva, also stating that she was the only student to score higher than him on the mathematics portion of the entrance exam.
Mileva and Albert are taking their physics class and Mileva questions Weber on the properties of energy and thermodynamics. Albert agrees with her, even going on to create an example with classmate's Michele Besso's pencils. However, Mileva watches as Albert is quickly silenced by Weber, who informs him that theatrics have no place at Zurich Polytechnic.
Later, Mileva is approached by Albert, who wants to discuss farther into their recent inquiries from class. However, Mileva, wanting none of it, berates him on why he supported her in class and says she doesn't need his attention. She also tells him that if he is trying to flirt with her to end his advances because she did not come to University to find a husband. After one quick touch on Mileva's shoulder, she angrily tells Albert to stay away from her and walks away.
In the spring, Mileva is conducting experiments on a Kundt's tube and is interrupted by the sound of a violin. She finds the source of the music, it being Albert. She asks him to quit playing due to its distraction, but he tells her the violin helps him think. She asks him to think quietly.
Mileva is in the library and is noticed by Albert while reading a book on kinetic theory by Boltzmann. Mileva and Albert both agree that they'll get more information on the subject by reading about it, than listening to the teachings of Weber.
Later, Mileva attempts to visit Albert at his apartment but is met by Marcel Grossmann instead, who tells her that he is in Aarau with his fiancée Marie Winteler. Mileva tells Marcel to give him a message, the book by Boltzmann, and then walks away.
Albert meets with Mileva and thanks her for the book and tries to start conversation. Mileva, knowing of his "engagement with Marie", tries to walk away but is stopped by Albert who tells her of his feelings for her. Mileva thinks he is playing her, but Albert kisses her. Mileva stops it, saying their relationship is not a possibility and leaves. After this, Mileva leaves Zurich and goes to Heidelberg University to audition for classes. Her absence is noticed by Albert, who ponders her whereabouts.
At Heidelberg University, Mileva is noticed by many of the all-male students for being a woman. She sits in on a physics class instructed by Professor Philipp Lenard, who teaches the Kinetic Principles of Theoretical Physics.
Albert writes to Mileva and gives his apologies for driving her to Heidelberg and urges her to write back. The letter is given to Mileva by Frau Fricke, who insists that someone carry her books for her. She writes back only to relay to Albert the details of the lesson taught by Professor Lenard, which supports their thoughts on the kinetic theory of heat and gases, a question previously ignored by Weber.
Mileva approaches Professor Lenard and asks him questions on understanding the equipartition theorem and if it applies to the case of diatomic gases. Lenard, impressed by her knowledge on the material, wonders how she knows so much, and Mileva answers by stating that it was only him who taught her and that she learned nothing of it at Zurich. Mileva, having written an essay on kinetic theory, wants Lenard to read it and write to the University to petition her to take the entrance exam so she can actually attend classes as a student. However, Lenard, who admires her spirit, will not, due to his German conservatism, write to the administration. He urges her to return to Zurich and earn a diploma and then maybe he will reconsider.
Mileva is given another letter by Frau Fricke, who wonders if Albert is a potential boyfriend.
Mileva eventually returns to Zurich to earn a diploma. She is quickly noticed by Albert, who chases after her. She is eventually found in the library and she tells him that she did not return for him, but to earn her diploma. She tells him that she has a lot to catch up on, however, Albert comes forth and says he will help her, and says he loves her. After having sex, Mileva tells Albert that if she is just a side affair for him she wants nothing to do with it. However, he tells her she is the only one he loves, affectionately calling her "Dollie". Being late for class, Mileva is worried that it will lower peoples expectations of her. Albert tells her skipping one class will be nothing. While studying, they ponder the formations of molecules.
When Albert is out of the room, Mileva finds a bundle of letters from Marie. In a fit of rage, Mileva yells at Albert, asking why he is still with Marie even after what they had been through. She wonders how he can be so careless with her heart and tells Albert that he only cares about himself and has never tried to understand her. She then tells him that she has to work as hard as anyone else to have respect in University. Mileva tells him to never speak to her again and leaves.
After silently sitting through a class instructed by Professor Minkowski, Mileva is approached by Michele Besso who wants to know if she is okay. She says she is fine and leaves. Later, she is given Geometry notes from Albert by Marcel. Albert also tells her that he ended his relationship with Marie. Mileva lets him sit with her to study for the upcoming final exams.
Professor Weber gives everyone their final exams to take. After the exam, Mileva is asked by Albert for her hand in marriage. She says no, seeing no possible outcome where their marriage would work out.
Mileva returns home to Kac, Serbia, where she meets her father at the train station. After many a tearful "I'm sorry", she tells him that she is pregnant.
Mileva attempts to call her ex-husband, Albert, but the scientist ignores her call due to being late for a lecture.