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A Bigger Splash begs the question: is it possible for exes to remain friends?


1st Jan 2015 Film & TV

A Bigger Splash begs the question: is it possible for exes to remain friends?

A Bigger Splash, starring Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton, is a dazzling, sensuous portrait of desire, jealousy and rock ‘n’ roll under the Mediterranean sun. It has inspired us to ask that age-old question: is it actually possible for exes to remain friends?


When rock star Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) and her boyfriend Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) decide to vacation on a remote volcanic Italian island, their rest is disrupted by the sudden visit of an old flame Harry (Ralph Fiennes) and his provocative daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson).

Harry and Marianne were previously a couple and his unexpected visit brings an A-bomb blast of nostalgia, jealousy and tension from which there can be no rescue. Despite Marianne and Harry being separated for years there is still obvious chemistry between the pair.

We analyse the relationships in the movie, and ask, can exes really be friends?


Put space between you

When Harry and Marianne split, there is obvious space between them, and Marianne moves on, developing a relationship with Paul.

The only way to move on from an ex is to separate and reflect on your feelings. Friendship might come later, but only if there is time to evaluate the relationship from a distance.


Keeping it platonic

Harry and Marianne may be close friends, but their chemistry constantly makes things awkward. They’re not too shy expressing affection for each other, especially in front of Paul!

If you’re staying friends with an ex, the best advice would be to keep things as physically free as possible.


Consider your new partner

When an ex reappears, consider what your new partner might think about it.

In the case of A Bigger Splash, Paul and Harry knew each other prior to the events of the film. So this, at least, leads to a foundation that friends with an ex might be possible.

Then again, inviting your ex to stay with you inside your holiday villa might be taking that friendship a little too far.


Spending time together alone is a bad idea

If you’re going to be friends with an ex, it’d be best to avoid spending time together alone, especially if you’re in a new relationship.

In this clip, Marianne and Harry share an intimate karaoke session, which Paul walks in on.

While nothing happens physically, the scene and setting is enough to cause jealousy! Paul has every right to feel uncomfortable walking in on this moment.


When it feels intense, back off

At times, Harry is unable to hold back his feelings for Marianne, especially when alone (see previous point). In the following clip, Harry lets it all out to Marianne

It’s very possible that exes can rekindle feelings. Maybe Harry and Marianne broke up for the wrong reasons and would consider getting back together in the future.

But Marianne is in another relationship. If those feelings are coming back, both parties need to take a moment to reflect and figure out what they really want, before hurting others and themselves.


And if it doesn’t feel intense, consider backing off anyway

If you have feelings for your ex and you’re unsure if they’re reciprocating, it might be wise to back off regardless.

If they’re in a new relationship like Marianne and Paul, there are no positive outcomes to Harry getting involved. Someone will always get hurt in this scenario.


A Bigger Splash is directed by Luca Guadagnino and stars Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson, Matthias Schoenaerts and Tilda Swinton. It’s in cinemas across the UK from February 12th.

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