How would you prefer to spend the rest of your life: loving or to be loved? How about spending your weekends? Is it better when you spend it with someone who will appreciate every second with you, or with one who uses business trips as an excuse to spend weekends with countless mistresses? I don’t need to use much imagination to guess which answer you will pick. However, in Anatole Litvak’s GOODBYE AGAIN you will have many chances to think about it, as he has his own answer prepared for you. The answer that will help you understand the real reason Ingrid Bergman’s Paula must once again say goodbye ….
From the very opening scene, Litvak throws you into a beautiful and very complex world, where two souls, Roger (Yves Montand) and Paula (Ingrid Bergman), live happily in the way it seems right for them. Even though Paula is so eager to celebrate their 5th anniversary of being together, Roger decides to spend that day with someone else. You soon find out that they’re both seeing their relationship from quite different angles. Paula is aware of Roger’s affair, however, she keeps quiet thinking, “as long as she can have the man she loves even for a few days in a week.” In first scene the viewer gets a chance to interact with Bergman’s Paula closely as she prepares for a big celebration. But the phone call she receives interrupts her plans and leaves her calm rather stunned. Does it mean that Paula is getting used to lonely and unresponsive nights without a man who she loves or the answer she must receive from him for the rest of her life?
But nothing seems so easy when Paula meets one of her client’s son, Philip (Anthony Perkins), who madly and childishly falls for the woman who 15 years older than him. Paula tries to reject all of Philip’s advances because of her love for Roger. But what is strange about this movie is its sense of reality and nature that will make you feel throughout the movie as if you’re watch someone’s life unfold. A life, that is full of goodbyes, where one woman can’t decide what she wants, to love or be loved? But as you watch the movie, you realize the problem with Paula is much bigger, where she finds herself too old to love; too old to demand the life she deserves to have… And the following line Bergman delivers, “I am finally home, for whatever it is.” is one of the most powerful scene I’ve ever scene where you see how one woman is resigned for life.
GOODBYE AGAIN is underrated and undeservedly forgotten, and yet, equally great movie as THE WAY WE WERE with Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Both movies are quite difficult to watch in terms of their subject and powerful performance of the entire cast, where you have no choice but simply watch a real life story with upcoming storm. In Litvak’s movie you can’t really help but realize that the love shown in his movie is more real than what you may see in famous Casablanca. Through the mature performance of Ingrid Bergman you can see how and what kind of life a woman in her middle age can expect when she is in the same situation like our heroine.
In conclusion, talking much about this movie is pointless until you see it. But once you do that, you will never forget it. The closing scene where Paula receives a phone call is something that must be talked about by many movie lovers. Because the performance Ingrid Bergman delivers afterwards, sitting in front of mirror with the facial expression where she accepts the love and its outcome the way you expect least. After seeing that, you will ask yourself, is it a true love? Is this a life you want to have? But does it really matter, when Paula makes her own decision to have a life full of saying goodbye? But what does the goodbye mean to her is something you must certainly find out… But be ready, because the answer you will receive is not what you expect.
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