6.9/10
1,263
24 user 14 critic

Bliss (1985)

After a near-death experience, a man wonders if he actually did die and is now in Hell.

Director:

Ray Lawrence

Writers:

Ray Lawrence (screenplay), Peter Carey (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barry Otto ... Harry Joy
Lynette Curran ... Bettina Joy
Helen Jones Helen Jones ... Honey Barbara
Miles Buchanan Miles Buchanan ... David Joy
Gia Carides ... Lucy Joy
Tim Robertson ... Alex Duval
Jeff Truman ... Joel
Bryan Marshall ... Adrian Clunes
Jon Ewing Jon Ewing ... Aldo
Kerry Walker ... Alice Dalton
Paul Chubb ... Reverend Des
Sarah De Teliga Sarah De Teliga ... Harry's Mother (as Sara De Teliga)
Saskia Post ... Harry's Daughter (as Saski Post)
George Whaley George Whaley ... Vance
Robert Menzies Robert Menzies ... Damien
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Storyline

Harry suffers a heart attack and has a near-death experience that changes his outlook on life. His miraculous return convinces him that there is a heaven but that his life on Earth is hell. His wife Bettina has her worst fears realized when she develops brain cancer from gasoline fumes. His son David deals cocaine and receives sexual favors from his drug-addicted sister Lucy. Harry finds love with a kind-hearted prostitute "Honey Barbara" who kills a top oil-company executive, and then herself, with Molotov cocktails. Shocking scenes include cockroaches bursting from Harry's stitches after his open-heart surgery, and fish dropping from in between a woman's legs onto a restaurant floor. This bizarre and often slow-moving film lampoons the luridness of the human condition. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

After Harry Joy dropped dead... his life was never the same again.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It is the most controversial Australian film of 1985. Unedited, 400 people walked out of the cinemas due to the sexual content. Edited, the filmed turned out to be one of the true Australian sleeper hits of all time, achieving critical acclaim, grossing A$1,144,863 in Australia and $660,537 in the U.S., and becoming the best Australian picture of 1985. See more »

Quotes

Adrian Clunes: Y'know Harry, where exactly are you going to draw the line? If you fire us, you have to fire all the clients.
[Oyster flies off his fork]
Adrian Clunes: I'm sorry. Now listen: they release about 18,000 totally new organic compounds every year; none of them are properly tested. God knows how many cause cancer! The whole of the Western world is built on things that cause cancer. They cannot afford to stop making them!
[pause]
Adrian Clunes: Oh, for Christ's sake, look at your clients. Austrol had benzine in petrol; which is a ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version originally screened at the Cannes Film Festival ran 135 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Beauty (1999) See more »

User Reviews

 
Perfect!
29 September 1998 | by DunksSee all my reviews

Ray Lawrence's adaptation of Peter Carey's novel is one of those rare birds - a perfect screen adaptation of a great book.

Harry Joy, an advertising executive, has a near-fatal heart attack - but when he recovers he is convinced he is in hell. And why not? His bitchy wife is having a torrid affair right under his nose, his son is trading drugs for sex with his own sister, and his ad agency represents the most destructive and polluting companies in town. Harry's life spirals out of control until he breaks away from his awful family and finds redemption in his love for the beautiful Honey Barbara.

Filled with extraordinary images, the film captures the surreal mood, the sense of hidden menace and the outrageous black humour of Carey's book, and brings the characters vividly to life.

Barry Otto, one of Australia's greatest actors, is perfect as Harry and he is brilliantly supported by an outstanding cast, including Lynette Curran as his horrible wife, Miles Buchanan as his evil and depraved son, Gia Carides as the daughter, and especially Helen Jones as his hippy 'innamorata', Honey Barbara.

If you can find it, the longer "director's cut" version is a must-see, for the amazing police-station scene - inexplicably removed from the initial release version - where Harry, under arrest after a series of bizarre and hilarious incidents, transfixes the cops with one of his famous stories. Barry Otto delivers an electrifying monologue, in one long, unedited scene, with the camera gradually pulling closer and closer to an extreme closeup of his face.

"Bliss" is director Ray Lawrence's only feature film to date - but one perfect film is better than ten duds!


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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 February 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Błogość See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD3,400,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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