The rise of non monogamy is real. Especially regarding the throuple. And for good reason. Sometimes 3 isn’t a crowd, but truly a magic number. If you’re considering exploring an open relationship, or particularly the infamous ménage a trois, here are 7 essential films that shed some light on the concept.


For Spanish steam: Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008)

6 old school films about open relationships
Vicky Christina Barcelona.

What’s not to love about a three-way romance between Penélope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem? Amongst a backdrop of art exhibitions, Spanish guitar and a whole lot of red wine. The story follows two American women on a summer holiday in Spain who become romantically involved with a charming artist and his volatile ex-wife, exploring themes of love, passion, and the complexities of relationships. Vicky Christina ticks all of the boxes. It’s captivating, hilarious, beautiful to look at and will leave you forever pining for a three-way summer romance.


For artsy sensuality: Henry and June (1990)

6 old school films about open relationships
Henry and June.

A loose adaptation of Anaïs Nin’s wonderful autobiographical book ‘Henry and June’, this drama delves into the passionate and true story of the tumultuous relationship between Anaïs, the famous author Henry Miller and his striking wife June, set against the backdrop of 1930s Paris. Whilst it’s a little too self-consciously artsy for some, anyone who has read Anais Nin and enjoys steamy period films is bound to be enchanted. Plus, Uma Thurman. Need we say more?


For cumming of age: Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)

6 old school films about open relationships
Y Tu Mama Tambien.

Looking for a feel-good steam rolling, threesome road movie? Your wish is granted. In this coming-of-age mexican film, two teenage boys take a road trip with an older woman, leading to an exploration of their sexual awakening, deepening friendships, and the complexities of their desires. The film manages to be an easy, fun-loving watch and yet told with a high level of artistic sensitivity. (But who would have expected less from academy winning director, Alfonso Cuaron?)


For French free love: Jules et Jim (1962)

6 old school films about open relationships
Jules et Jim.

Truffaut strikes again! This classic French New Wave film tells the story of two friends, Jules and Jim, and their love for the same woman, Catherine, over many years, examining the intricacies of love and friendship. This film honestly highlights the best and worst of throuple, showing how (even if for a short amount of time), this kind relationship can be uniquely harmonious.


For dreamy melancholy: Heartbeats (2010)

6 old school films about open relationships

This stylised film, written, directed and edited by Xavier Dolan, explores the difficulties of a three-way flirtation and unfulfilled desire. Two best friends, Francis and Marie, both fall for the same enigmatic man, leading to a love triangle that tests their friendship and explores themes of unrequited love and youthful infatuation. If you’re looking for a Wong Kar Wai-esque artsy-but-sad story, Heartbeats is a go.


For British mischief: Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987)

6 old school films about open relationships
Rita, Sue and Bob Too.

In this British comedy-drama set in the working class backdrop of Yorkshire, two teenage girls have an affair with a married man, leading to a tangled web of relationships marked by humour and social commentary on class and sex in 1980s Britain.  The film’s strapline being ‘Thatcher’s Britain with her knickers down.’ perfectly sets the up the vibe to expect.


For incestuous games: The Dreamers (2003)

6 old school films about open relationships
The Dreamers.

Set in 1968 Paris, this film follows an American student who becomes romantically entangled with a French brother and sister, as they bond over a shared love of cinema and explore their sexual identities amidst political unrest. The film isn’t without flaws; it’s a little more style than substance, but there’s nothing Eva Green being sexy can’t fix. If you’re after something aesthetic and deviously sexual, The Dreamers is for you.


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Iso is a writer and filmmaker based in East London. She is passionate about all things erotic and leads a sexy, shame-free life in hope that she can inspire others to do the same. Originally from a Northern seaside town, she is naturally drawn to the best things in life: candyfloss, trashy karaoke bars and heart-shaped sunglasses.

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