‘Bliss’ Review: A Sci-Fi Romance That Misses The Mark

Bliss, directed by Mike Cahill, follows Greg (Owen Wilson), who’s having a disastrous day to say the least. After recently being divorced and then fired from his menial job, he meets the mysterious Isabel (Salma Hayek), a woman living on the streets and convinced that the evil, dark, polluted world around them is nothing but a computer simulation. Greg’s initial hesitancy dissipated after witnessing power that could change his life. He quickly finds himself enamored with her and her views.

Their chance meeting at the bar across from his job felt more like a recruitment. Minutes before their encounter, an incident happened that nobody knew about except her. Isabel makes her pitch about their environment and the simulation, and a down-on-his-luck Greg was more apt to believe, given his current mental state.

A single, jobless man, with a strained relationship between his two children, would probably be more willing to believe pigs accrue SkyMiles than accept the dull reality in front of him. So it’s no surprise that he went along with Isabel’s escapades.

The pairing of Hayek and Wilson was weird to begin with, but add the love component and supposed telekinetic abilities and it makes for a film that’s difficult to navigate. The real, the fake, the simulation, or the matrix, a high-concept explanation is probably wading in the wind.

What started off as a good idea quickly went south. The Connecticut-born director has ventured off into the imaginary before with films like Another Earth, but the central message in Bliss gets lost in a lack of clarity and direction.

Bliss gets a 5 out of 10. The film will be streaming on Amazon Prime on Feb. 5. Also #triggerwarning if you’re sensitive to drug use since that’s a recurring theme in the movie. On a more positive note, you will get the professional opinion of one Bill Nye, on an experiment in the film.

-Jon J.

Photo: Courtesy of Prime Video

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