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In the 1930s, screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), a.k.a. Mank, is nursing a broken leg at the North Verde Ranch outside of Los Angeles. While resting there, he's hard at work on a script for an upcoming movie that will be known as Citizen Kane.
Flashback to a few years earlier, as Mank hangs out at William Randolph Hearst's estate and becomes friends with rising starlet Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried). He also works with legendary movie moguls David O. Selznick (Toby Leonard Moore) and Louis B. Mayer (Arliss Howard). All of his earlier experiences find their ways into the Citizen Kane screenplay, which will go on to be considered one of the greatest movies of all time.