‘Bliss’ Summary & Rant – A Scientific Nonsense


Did you ever notice a foxy yet nerdy person in your class? The guy who speaks the most difficult words, or literally Shakespeare lingo to sound smart but in reality, his words make no sense?  Bliss is that foxy nerd. A visual attention seeker, a propagator of sci-fi theories that don’t make any sense. For the whole 103 minutes, it instills doubts in your mind compelling you to accept that you are a dumb idiot, but it’s the contrary which is true.

Directed and written by Mike Cahill, Bliss stars charming Owen Wilson, beautiful Salma Hayek, and her accent causing immense pain to your eardrums. As much as I was able to perceive, the film is set in two different worlds, in two different time zones. One is the real world and the other is the world in simulation, similar to one in The Matrix (1999).

The mess begins with Greg Wittle (Owen Wilson) being expelled from his corporate job for not being able to cope up with the targets. In an accident, he hurts his superior who dies on spot. Greg runs around as an outlaw when he rams into a mysterious hip woman, Isabel Clemens (Salma Hayek). Isabel offers help to Greg promising to protect him from the law if he will get her necklace from her ex-boyfriend. Greg does so and they initiate a journey to know each other.

Now, in the first screwed up part of the film, Isabel and Greg play a chanting game of calling out to people and judging them whether they are,  “fake fake” or “real real.” This part is happening inside the simulation and that is why Isabel helps Greg to differentiate between real and fake parts. For no good reason, the creators have also incorporated the idea of “blue crystals” and “yellow crystals” because they were much inspired by the Matrix. Yellow crystals give gravitational powers to Isabel and Greg while blue crystals are their way out of the simulation.

Inside this simple, cliche, unoriginal, monotonous, boring, and head-banging plot, there are some pretentious sci-fi, political, dramatic, emotional, and other kinds of subplots. Most of them, I failed to decipher. As much as I grasped, Isabel designed this simulation machine to cure the cynical people to appreciate how bad things can be. Greg is her husband and subject for this project who is dealing with the remorse of not being able to give enough time to her daughter. The remorse and the daughter, is the suspect aspect, as we are not able to decode, whether the subject and the character is fictitious or real. It could be fictitious on the grounds that often cynics are pushed into emotional zones to increase their empathy. However, the film doesn’t answer the question.

Bliss is an exhausting watch. I watched it twice and still was not able to understand why the makers made it or what was the actual point they wanted to make? It is visually appealing but emotionally draining. It doesn’t connect with you at all and the characters, they are just hallucinations (pun intended). No bone, no character, and no emotions. Just too much technology taking over and having nothing to say, that’s what the film is. Don’t try to understand it, it is a feat made for themselves and it would have been better if they kept it to themselves. On the writing level, the character deals with no demands, no pursuits. All the script has to offer is confusion, both on-screen and off-screen.

If you are reading this article to understand what this film was about, please don’t try it. It’s worthless. It’s not Nolan. It’s some foxy nerd trying to act cool but all it offers is baseless convolutions. If you haven’t seen the film and are planning to, watch The Matrix.

Bliss is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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