7.0/10
1,162
22 user 11 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 »
Reviews
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 Tim Robertson ... Alex Duval
Jeff Truman ... Joel
Bryan Marshall Bryan Marshall ... Adrian Clunes
Jon Ewing Jon Ewing ... Aldo
Kerry Walker 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

An advertising executive dies and goes to hell... except nothing changes. Well, his daughter is buying drugs with sexual favours from her brother, and the number of cancer-causing products is on the increase. But the notes he writes to himself to prove he hasn't gone insane are getting more disjointed, and he runs off with an ex-prostitute called Honey Barbera. 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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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 February 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blogosc See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD 3,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,998, 23 February 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$660,537
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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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 »

Alternate Versions

There is a Director's Cut version running 135 minutes. The main addition is a lengthy monologue to camera by the protagonist in a police station. See more »

Connections

Featured in Reading Australian Film (1988) See more »

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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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