A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Bigger Splash is a very mature drama based on an old French film. It has extremely strong sexual content, with both male and female full-frontal nudity, plus graphic sex scenes, oral sex, and hints at unorthodox sex. There's also some violence, specifically a struggle between two characters that results in a death. Language includes several uses of "f--k," as well as "s--t" and "bitch." Adult characters drink socially and get drunk; some also snort cocaine and pop unidentified pills. A character is said to have been an alcoholic and to have attempted suicide. While the movie is fascinating and well-made, it's not at all appropriate for younger viewers.
What's the story?
In A BIGGER SPLASH, rock star Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) is taking time off with her boyfriend, photographer Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts), on a beautiful island near Italy ater having vocal surgery. Unexpectedly, their old friend, record producer Harry (Ralph Fiennes), shows up with his beautiful daughter, Penelope (Dakota Johnson), in tow. They all proceed to enjoy the island: swimming, drinking, going to festivals, etc. But the past relationship between Marianne and Harry slowly rears its head, and Penelope seems to have eyes for Paul. Everything comes to a head when an argument goes awry, and everyone's relationships are truly tested.
Is it any good?
A loose remake of a 1969 French movie, this mature, fascinating character drama is alive in a very sensual way, zeroing in on atmosphere and environment and the way they react with humans. Italian director Luca Guadagnino, who previously worked with Tilda Swinton in the superb I Am Love, has a way of wringing core emotions out of rather turgid material -- and finding a story worth telling.
Guadagnino doesn't shy away from nudity and adult sexual situations, each of which ties back into the story's outcome. He shoots the Italian hideaway in ways that make it seem both relaxing and stirring, with delicious-looking food and a sunny swimming pool, as well as invasions from snakes and geckos. The director occasionally focuses on stray details, sometimes suddenly zooming in and creating a strangely off-putting but alluring effect. A BIGGER SPLASH tells a lurid story, but one with unexpected intelligence and psychological depth.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about A Bigger Splash's sexual content. How is it handled? What purpose does it serve? How much sexual content in media is appropriate for kids?
What's the takeaway from watching this film? What can viewers learn from it all? How do the characters change over the course of the story?
How do minor incidents of violence (against fish, snakes, geckos, etc.) foreshadow other kinds of violence? Are they unsettling? Why or why not?
- In theaters: May 4, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: September 6, 2016
- Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson
- Director: Luca Guadagnino
- Studio: Fox Searchlight
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 124 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: graphic nudity, some strong sexual content, language and brief drug use
- Last updated: July 23, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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