7.0/10
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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:

Writers:

(screenplay), (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:
... Harry Joy
... Bettina Joy
Helen Jones ... Honey Barbara
... Lucy Joy
Miles Buchanan ... David Joy
... Joel
Tim Robertson ... Alex Duval
Bryan Marshall ... Adrian Clunes
Jon Ewing ... Aldo
Kerry Walker ... Alice Dalton
... Reverend Des
Sarah De Teliga ... Harry's Mother (as Sara De Teliga)
... Harry's Daughter (as Saski Post)
George Whaley ... Vance
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:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 February 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blogosc  »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

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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 »

Connections

Featured in Reading Australian Film (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

Too much.
25 April 2002 | by See all my reviews

If Lawrence had cut out a third of the film it would have been better. Within reason, I think he could have got rid of ANY third. A third of the storyline could have gone (the beginning, the middle, the end, or fragments throughout), or a sixth of the storyline plus a sixth of the character development, or a third of the quirkiness, or a third of the odd devices (straight-to-the-camera narrative could have stayed on condition the dream sequences went, or vice versa, or some such). It's like the plate of an overly ambitious diner at a banquet, with quail eggs, a potato dumpling, salad, a banana fritter, baked trout, a small slice of quiche, a strawberry, eggplant, satayed parsnip with brown rice, two roast chestnuts and four kinds of cheese. Thankfully, the elements are positioned so as not to ruin one another's flavour, but there's just too many of them.

But at least this is a fault on the right side.

It's as if "Bliss" were a repository, or a central font, of all of the offbeat black humour, all the odd characters, and all the quirky local colour, to have appeared in every Australian film made since. This isn't a bad thing. (My earlier complaint is that its ferociously luxuriant growth could have been cut back by a third and it would STILL have contained all the offbeat black humour, etc.) What makes it great is that it's more sincere than any of its imitators. A mere seventeen years old, it seems to date from a magical, all-but-forgotten pre-digital age, when we REALLY made films, and didn't just play at doing so.

On reflection: I don't care if there IS too much here. So much of it is so good, like the prim, fascist manager of the lunatic ward, the scene in which the cancer map is unveiled (Lawrence makes much out of a mere conversation in a hotel room), and the "love letter" to Honey Barbara. The strength which flows through the film's limbs is probably inherited from the era in which it was made. This decade (from a few years into the 1980s until a few years into the 1990s) saw Australian society at its most optimistic, tolerant and decent. We've come a long way downhill in the short time since.


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