Fast forward to Carl and Ellie’s wedding day. Following the sage advice of Beyoncé, Carl put a ring on it.
Carl and Ellie’s wedding kicks off a four-minute, dialogue-free montage that documents their life together.
They buy a fixer-upper and, still in their wedding gear, start sprucing it up. They have a hilltop picnic, picking out shapes in the clouds.
They get His and Hers jobs at the zoo: Ellie working with birds, Carl selling balloons. They read in side-by-side chairs. They outfit a nursery. Ellie finds out she can’t conceive, and Carl comforts her.
They start saving their loose change in a jug marked “Paradise Falls,” and Ellie reminds Carl of his heart-crossing promise to take her there. A series of unfortunate events, like a flat tire, Carl’s broken leg, and a tree crashing into their Technicolor house repeatedly force Carl and Ellie to dip into their Paradise Falls savings.
A montage-within-the-montage of Ellie helping Carl tie a series of neckties advances time further. Carl and Ellie are old and gray. They dance in the living room.
While tidying up the joint, Carl spots a framed photo of Ellie as a little girl in her explorer gear. He looks across the room at her, bent over and sweeping, and we cut to Carl at a travel agent, buying airline tickets in front of posters of South American countries.
He packs the tix into a picnic basket, and they head to their usual cloud-gazing hill. Ellie collapses on the way up.
The montage continues: Ellie’s reading her Adventure Book in a hospital bed. A blue balloon with a stick tied to it comes drifting through the open window. Callback! Carl enters, and Ellie passes her book to him, touching his face.
Then we cut to Carl sitting in a church, holding a blue balloon. Ellie’s passed away. Carl returns to their home, alone, at dusk.
We swear we’re not crying; we just have a piece of lint in our eye. Yeah, that’s it. Lint.