Paula Tessier (Bergman) is a 40-year-old interior designer who for the past five years has been the mistress of Roger Demarest (Montand), a "philandering business executive" who refuses to stop seeing other women. When Paula meets Philip (Perkins), the 25-year-old son of one of her wealthy clients, he falls in love with her and insists that the age difference will not matter. Paula resists the young man's advances, but finally succumbs when Roger initiates yet another affair with one of his young "Maisies". While she is initially happy with Philip, her friends and business associates disapprove of the May–December romance.
The cast includes brief, uncredited cameo appearances by Yul Brynner and Jean-Pierre Cassel.
Litvak and others thought "Aimez-vous Brahms?" would be a confusing title for U.S. audiences, and initially chose Time on My Hands as the title for the American release, after the song of that name they had selected as the main theme; when the song's publishers insisted on a $75,000 license for its use, they dropped plans to use the song, and the production team settled on "Goodbye Again" as the title, a suggestion from Perkins that he had taken from a Broadway production in which his father Osgood had had a role.
Scenes were filmed on location in Paris. During principal photography, Perkins thought Bergman was a "little too persistent" in her attempts to get him to rehearse their kissing scenes; Perkins later said "Bergman would have welcomed an affair with him", but Bergman had a different explanation in her 1980 autobiography, saying it was her shyness and tendency to blush: "You see, although the camera has no terrors at all for me, I'm very bad at this sort of intimacy on the screen, especially when the men are practically strangers."
Uncredited "stars" of the film were the automobiles: as Time magazine pointed out, Goodbye Again "is thoroughly French. That is to say, all of its important scenes take place in restaurants or automobiles."
The score is by Georges Auric, with additional music by Brahms. The Brahms motifs are the 4th movement from Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68, and the 3rd Movement from Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90. Film critic Bosley Crowther called the score "almost as elegant as the settings, which are the most respectable things in the film."
The soulful theme of the third movement of Brahms' Symphony No. 3 is heard repeatedly, including as the tune of a song ("Love Is Just a Word") sung by the night club singer (Diahann Carroll).
The soundtrack was released by United Artists Records (UAS 5091) in "electronic" (i.e., simulated) stereo.
The film "found success in Europe, where Perkins won an award for his performance at the Cannes Film Festival, but in America critics and audiences were generally unenthusiastic." According to Bosley Crowther, "Taylor's derivative screen play has a few flights of fancy and wit, but on the whole it is solemn and pedestrian"; "Perkins not only has the most engaging role but he also plays it in the most engaging fashion and almost carries the picture by himself." Years later, Andrea Foshee, writing for Turner Classic Movies, agreed:
"Co-star Anthony Perkins was just coming off his smash 1960 success as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, a role that would typecast him for the rest of his career. Yet, as the charming, aimless Philip in Goodbye Again, Perkins clearly demonstrates his versatility as an actor in a role that couldn't be further removed from his turn as a cross-dressing schizophrenic killer."
Perkins won the Best Actor Award at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival and Anatole Litvak was nominated for the Palme d'Or.