Dheepan is a Sri Lankan Tamil fighter, a Tiger.
The civil war draws to a close in Sri Lanka, defeat is at hand, and Dheepan decides to flee. He takes a woman and a little girl, whom he doesn't know, with him, hoping this will make it easier to get political asylum in Europe.
Once in Paris, this "family" struggles along, living in one shelter after another until Dheepan gets a caretaker's job in a housing project on the outskirts of the city.
Dheepan hopes to build a new life and to create a real home for his fake wife and daughter.
However, soon the everyday violence of the housing projects causes the still open wounds of the war to resurface.
Dheepan the soldier must reconnect with his warrior instincts to protect those who he hopes will become his "real" family.