In an isolated villa on the little Italian island of Pantelleria, world-famous rock singer Marianne Lane is on holiday with her filmmaker lover Paul. 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 failed suicide attempt. Neither speaks Italian but solitude is what both need, until an aeroplane from Rome brings a man neither wants to see.
This is Harry, a extroverted music promoter who was Marianne's lover until he passed her on to his protegé Paul. With him is Penelope, a previously unknown daughter of his who says she is 22. Moving into the villa, Harry starts inviting friends round 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 and the two make love. The sultry Pen then makes a play for the unhappy Paul, who succumbs easily.
After drinking on his own, Harry comes back very late and starts a fight beside the pool with Paul. Both fall in, and Harry drowns. In the morning his corpse is seen by the maid, who calls the police. They have more urgent business with illegal immigrants 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 reveals that she can speak perfect Italian, but chose to let her hosts struggle, and her passport reveals that she is only 17. Taking her to the airport, at the departure gate Marianne gives the insolent young woman a good slap.Tilda Swinton as Marianne Lane
Matthias Schoenaerts as Paul De Smedt
Ralph Fiennes as Harry Hawkes
Dakota Johnson as Penelope Lanier
Lily McMenamy as Sylvie
Aurore Clément as Mireille
Elena Bucci as Clara
Corrado Guzzanti as Maresciallo dei Carabinieri
The first promo still of A Bigger Splash featuring Matthias Schoenaerts, Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson and Ralph Fiennes was released on 27 July 2015. A new set of movie stills were released on 3 September 2015. The first clip was released on 5 September 2015. Tilda Swinton appeared on the cover of the Autumm/Winter 2015 issue of AnOther Magazine, but not as herself, she appeared as her character in A Bigger Splash, Marianne Lane. 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.
The first international teaser trailer was released on 1 October 2015. The second trailer was released on 5 January 2016. The second clip from the film was released on 15 January 2016. Fox Searchlight released the first U.S. trailer on February 10, 2016.
In February 2015, Fox Searchlight Pictures acquired U.S distribution rights to the film. The film made its world premiere at the 72nd Venice Film Festival on 6 September 2015. It has also been selected to screen at the Busan International Film Festival on 2 October 2015 and at the London Film Festival on 9 October 2015. Lucky Red released the film in Italy on 26 November 2015. The film was released in the United Kingdom on 12 February 2016 by StudioCanal. It was released France on 16 April 2016. Originally scheduled to open in United States on 13 May 2016, it was pushed up to 4 May.
For its theatrical run 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.
A Bigger Splash received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 89%, based on 139 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. 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." On Metacritic the film has a score of 74 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".