An engaged French playboy falls in love with an American woman on a ship and plans to meet her in six months after working; but she is detained.
Famous Michel Marnet (Charles Boyer) sails to New York to get married. On the boat he meets Terry McKay (Irene Dunne), the only beautiful woman he can find. Terry tells him of her boss but says nothing happened. To avoid publicity she leaves Michel; but they meet at a bar. The ship stops at Madeira, and Michel takes Terry to meet his widowed grandmother Janou (Maria Ouspenskaya). Terry prays in the chapel with him and admires his painting. Janou tells Terry she is worried about Michel, who needs a good woman. Janou plays piano, and Terry sings until Janou hears the boat whistle. Terry embraces Janou. On the boat Terry thanks Michel for a lovely day, and he kisses her. Neither can sleep. Michel wrote a song about wishing and admits he never worked, saying he needs six months to become worthy. Terry agrees to meet him on top of the Empire State building on July 1. In New York Lois Clarke (Astrid Allwyn) welcomes Michel with a kiss, and Kenneth Bradley (Lee Bowman) embraces Terry.
In Philadelphia Terry sings "Sing, My Heart" in a nightclub and is hired for six months. Michel asks Maurice Cobert (Maurice Moscovitch) to sell his paintings and paints a billboard. On July 1 Terry sees Ken and says she is in a hurry, because she will be married. Terry is hit by a car while Michel waits for her on the roof of the Empire State building. Hours later he leaves. A doctor tells Ken that Terry probably will not walk. Michel goes back to Madeira and is given his grandmother's shawl for Terry. In a wheelchair Terry teaches orphans to sing "Wishing," and the orphan superintendent "Picklepuss" (Frank McGlynn Sr.) offers her a job. Cobert tells Michel he sold every painting but one of Terry in the shawl. Michel says he can't take money for it. On Christmas Eve Michel attends the theater with Lois and sees Terry sitting with Ken. Terry tells Ken why she can't accept his help. The orphans want Terry to go with them, but the doctor says no. They practice singing "Wishing." Michel visits Terry and apologizes for not keeping their appointment. She says they should not ask why one did not show up. Michel gives her the shawl and says he let Cobert sell his painting to a poor woman; he realizes her condition as he sees the painting. Terry says it was her fault because she was looking up to heaven to see him. They kiss and cry and laugh.
Surely one of the most romantic films ever, a grandmother
and a beautiful woman inspire a loafer to work and become a successful
artist as he matures and realizes he has found the one woman for
him despite the tragedy that kept them apart for a while.