A Bigger Splash (2015 film)

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A Bigger Splash
A Bigger Splash poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLuca Guadagnino
Screenplay byDavid Kajganich
Story byAlain Page
Produced by
CinematographyYorick Le Saux
Edited byWalter Fasano
  • Frenesy Film Company
  • Cota Film
Distributed by
  • Lucky Red (Italy)
  • StudioCanal (United Kingdom and France)
Release dates
  • 6 September 2015 (2015-09-06) (Venice)
  • 26 November 2015 (2015-11-26) (Italy)
  • 12 February 2016 (2016-02-12) (United Kingdom)
  • 6 April 2016 (2016-04-06) (France)
Running time
124 minutes[1]
  • Italy
  • France
  • English
  • Italian
  • French
Box office$7.5 million[2]

A Bigger Splash is a 2015 psychological drama film directed by Luca Guadagnino and with a screenplay by David Kajganich from a story by Alain Page. Starring Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes, and Dakota Johnson, the film is loosely based on the 1969 Jacques Deray film La Piscine[3] and named after the 1967 David Hockney painting of the same name.[4] It is the second instalment in Guadagnino's self-described Desire trilogy, following I Am Love (2009) and preceding Call Me by Your Name (2017). It competed for the Golden Lion at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival.[5][6]


In an isolated villa on the small Italian island of Pantelleria, world-famous rock singer Marianne Lane is on holiday with her filmmaker lover Paul De Smedt. She is recovering from surgery and has lost her voice, communicating only by signs and occasional whispers. He is in recovery from alcohol addiction and a suicide attempt. Neither speaks Italian and their togetherness is interrupted by uninvited visitors.

Harry Hawkes is an extroverted music producer who was Marianne's lover until he passed her on to his protégé, Paul. With him is Penelope "Pen" Lanier, a previously unknown daughter of his who says she is 22. Moving into the villa, Harry starts inviting friends around as if it were his home and taking everybody out to various sights and festivities. His arrogant manner bores Pen and annoys Paul, but Marianne starts falling under his spell again; however, when Harry and Marianne begin to become intimate, Marianne stops Harry. She tells him that she does love him, but that she cannot be with him and that she is with Paul. The sultry Pen then makes a play for the unhappy Paul; it is not shown, but implied, that Paul succumbs to Pen's overtures.

After drinking on his own, Harry comes back very late and starts a fight with Paul beside the pool. Both fall in, and the fight continues. Paul holds Harry underwater to subdue him, but Harry drowns. Realising his mistake, Paul pulls Harry to the surface and attempts to resuscitate him, but is unsuccessful and leaves Harry to drift to the bottom of the pool. In the morning, his corpse is seen by the maid, who calls the police. They have more urgent business with refugees landing from North Africa, some floating ashore dead, but take the occupants of the villa in for questioning. Marianne convinces them with the truth that she was asleep, and suggests that the murderer was an intruder. Paul lies, saying he went to bed before the time of death, and is believed. Pen eventually reveals that she can speak perfect Italian, but chose to let her hosts struggle, and her passport reveals that she is only 17. Paul is concerned that Pen may have witnessed his fight with Harry in the pool, but is unable to determine how much she knows, if anything. Paul tearfully admits to Marianne that he killed Harry but tried to save him. At the airport, as Pen is about to fly out, she tells Paul and Marianne something that refers to something Marianne once said to Harry. Visibly disturbed, Marianne slaps Pen. Pen maintains her composure until she is shown boarding the plane in tears unseen by Marianne and Paul who depart in their car. On the ride back to the villa, they are stopped by the police. It is the investigating officer, but rather than pursuing the case he reveals himself to be a fan of Marianne and wants her to autograph a CD. She obliges and returns to the car where she and Paul share their relief and drive away.



The first promo still of A Bigger Splash featuring Matthias Schoenaerts, Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson and Ralph Fiennes was released on 27 July 2015.[7] A new set of movie stills were released on 3 September 2015.[8] The first clip was released on 5 September 2015.[9] Swinton appeared in-character on the cover of the Autumn/Winter 2015 issue of AnOther Magazine.[10][11] In a work of fiction co-authored by Swinton, Glenn O'Brien, Luca Guadagnino, and Dave Kajganich, Marianne Lane gave an interview for the magazine based around events in the film.[12]

The first international teaser trailer was released on 1 October 2015.[13] The second trailer was released on 5 January 2016.[14] The second clip from the film was released on 15 January 2016.[15] Fox Searchlight released the first U.S. trailer on 10 February 2016.[16]


In February 2015, Fox Searchlight Pictures acquired U.S distribution rights to the film.[17] The film made its world premiere at the 72nd Venice Film Festival[18][19] on 6 September 2015.[20][21] It was also selected to screen at the Busan International Film Festival on 2 October 2015[22] and at the London Film Festival[23] on 9 October 2015.[24] Lucky Red released the film in Italy on 26 November 2015.[25] The film was released in the United Kingdom on 12 February 2016 by StudioCanal.[26] It was released in France on 16 April 2016.[27] Originally scheduled to open in the United States on 13 May 2016, it was brought forward to 4 May.[28][29]

For its theatrical release A Bigger Splash earned $2,024,099 in North America and $5,521,659 in foreign receipts for a total world box office gross of $7,545,758.[30]

An extended version running for 195 minutes, titled An Even Bigger Splash, screened at the Gothenburg Film Festival on 5 February 2022.[31][32]


Critical response[edit]

A Bigger Splash received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 89%, based on 184 reviews. The site's consensus states: "Absorbing, visually arresting, and powerfully acted by an immensely talented cast, A Bigger Splash offers sumptuously soapy delights for fans of psychological adult drama."[33] On Metacritic the film has a score of 74 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[34]


List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards 6 February 2017 Best Actress Tilda Swinton Nominated [35]
Detroit Film Critics Society 19 December 2016 Best Supporting Actor Ralph Fiennes Nominated [36]
Evening Standard British Film Awards 8 December 2016 Best Actor Ralph Fiennes Nominated [37]
Best Actress Tilda Swinton Nominated
Florida Film Critics Circle 23 December 2016 Best Supporting Actor Ralph Fiennes Runner-up [38]
Independent Spirit Awards 25 February 2017 Best Supporting Male Ralph Fiennes Nominated [39]
IndieWire Critics Poll 19 December 2016 Best Supporting Actor Ralph Fiennes 6th Place [40]
Best Supporting Actress Tilda Swinton 5th Place
San Francisco Film Critics Circle 11 December 2016 Best Supporting Actor Ralph Fiennes Nominated [41][42]
Toronto Film Critics Association 11 December 2016 Best Supporting Actor Ralph Fiennes Runner-up [43]
Venice Film Festival 12 September 2015 Golden Lion Luca Guadagnino Nominated [44]
Green Drop Award Luca Guadagnino Nominated
Soundtrack Stars Award A Bigger Splash Won
Best Innovative Budget Award Luca Guadagnino Won


  1. ^ "A BIGGER SPLASH (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 11 January 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  2. ^ "A Bigger Splash (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  3. ^ Canova, Gianni (September 2015). "Luca Guadagnino, Tilda Swinton & Dakota Johnson". L'Uomo Vogue. Vogue Italia. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  4. ^ "A Bigger Splash: Luca Guadagnino Interview". The Arts Shelf. 28 June 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Venice Film Festival: Lido Lineup Builds Awards Season Buzz – Full List". Deadline. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Venice Fest Reveals Robust Lineup Featuring Hollywood Stars and International Auteurs". Variety. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  7. ^ "First still of "A Bigger Splash": Matthias Schoenaerts, Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson and Ralph Fiennes". imgur.com. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Exclusive 'A Bigger Splash' Photos Show Tilda Swinton's Beautiful Calm Before The Storm". indiewire.com. 5 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Watch: First Clip From 'A Bigger Splash' With Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, Ralph Fiennes & Matthias Schoenaerts". The Playlist. 5 September 2015. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Tilda Swinton Covers AnOther Magazine, But Not as herself". observer.com. 9 September 2015.
  11. ^ "AnOther Magazine A/W15: Real/Unreal". AnOther Magazine. 10 September 2015.
  12. ^ "A Deeper Dive Into A Bigger Splash". indiewire.com. 10 September 2015.
  13. ^ "A Bigger Splash – official teaser trailer". YouTube. 1 October 2015.
  14. ^ "A Bigger Splash – new official trailer". YouTube. 5 January 2016.
  15. ^ Kryiaziz, Stefan (15 January 2016). "WHY on Earth is Ralph Fiennes doing karaoke? WATCH the hilarious video here". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  16. ^ "A BIGGER SPLASH: Official HD Trailer". YouTube. 10 February 2016.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (19 February 2015). "Fox Searchlight Takes 'A Bigger Splash'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  18. ^ "72nd Venice International Film Festival Screening Schedule – A Bigger Splash". labiennale.org. Archived from the original on 8 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  19. ^ "Luca Guadagnino's 'I Am Love' Follow-Up 'A Bigger Splash' Leads Our Venice Film Festival To-Sees". indiewire.com. 29 July 2015. Archived from the original on 2 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  20. ^ "Two Matthias Schoenaerts' movies at Venice Film Festival". deredactie.be. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Venice Festival: Dakota Johnson, Matthias Schoenaerts to Pull Double Duty". The Hollywood Reporter. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  22. ^ "BIFF 2015 Gala Presentation – A Bigger Splash". biff.kr. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  23. ^ Davis, Edward (1 September 2015). "BFI London Film Festival Adds 'Steve Jobs,' 'A Bigger Splash,' 'High-Rise,' 'Black Mass' & More". Indiewire. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  24. ^ "2015 BFI London Film Festival – Love Gala – A Bigger Splash". whatson.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  25. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (1 October 2015). "Watch: First Trailer For Luca Guadagnino's 'A Bigger Splash' With Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes & Dakota Johnson". Indiewire.com. Archived from the original on 29 January 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  26. ^ "A Bigger Splash". OptimumReleasing.net. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  27. ^ "SORTIES SALLES FRANCE 2016–2017 – Studiocanal" (PDF). StudioCanal (in French). 20 January 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  28. ^ McNary, Dave (1 September 2015). "Tilda Swinton's 'A Bigger Splash' Set for May Release". Variety. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  29. ^ Murthi, Vikram (29 April 2016). "'A Bigger Splash' Exclusive Images: See Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, And More Vacation On An Italian Island". Indiewire.com. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  30. ^ "A Bigger Splash".
  31. ^ "An Even Bigger Splash". Göteborg Film Festival Prisma. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  32. ^ Borg, Max (2 February 2022). "Rotterdam, Göteborg e Luca Guadagnino". Cinecittà News (in Italian). Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  33. ^ "A Bigger Splash (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  34. ^ "A Bigger Splash reviews". Metacritic.
  35. ^ Rahman, Abid (15 December 2016). "Denzel Washington's 'Fences' Leads Nominations for AARP's Movies for Grownups Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  36. ^ Graham, Adam (14 December 2016). "Local critics: 'Moonlight', 'Manchester' best of 2016". The Detroit News. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  37. ^ Moore, William (17 November 2016). "Evening Standard British Film Awards - The Longlist". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  38. ^ "'MOONLIGHT' LEADS 2016 FLORIDA FILM CRITICS AWARDS NOMINATIONS". Florida Film Critics Circle. 21 December 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  39. ^ Warren, Matt (22 November 2016). "2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations Announced!". Independent Spirit Awards. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  40. ^ Greene, Steve (19 December 2016). "2016 IndieWire Critics Poll: Full List of Results". IndieWire. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  41. ^ Flores, Marshall (9 December 2016). "San Francisco Film Critics Circle Nominations!". AwardsDaily.com. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  42. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (12 December 2016). "'Moonlight' Named Best Picture by San Francisco Film Critics Circle". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  43. ^ Vlessing, Etan (12 December 2016). "'Moonlight' Named Best Film by Toronto Film Critics". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  44. ^ "LIVE: The winners of the 72nd Venice Film Festival". Retrieved 12 September 2015.

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