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Bliss | 2021 | R | – 5.5.7

content-ratingsWhy is “Bliss” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “drug content, language, some sexual material and violence.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a couple of sex scenes with some partial nudity, a few kissing scenes, a couple of murders by gunshot and a slashed throat with blood shown, an accidental death and a fall from a tall building, several people are thrown through the air or struck by objects without visible injuries, several arguments, several scenes of people ingesting a drug in crystal form, and nearly 30 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


A frustrated, lonely man (Owen Wilson) has memories of an entirely different life, when a homeless woman (Salma Hayek) explains to him that he’s lost in a simulation, and he’s actually her husband, as well as a successful scientist with a very nice house and lots of friends. Also with Nesta Cooper, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Ronny Chieng, Steve Zissis, Joshua Leonard, Madeline Zima and Bill Nye. Directed by Mike Cahill. [Running Time: 1:43]

Bliss SEX/NUDITY 5

 – A man and a woman kiss passionately in a restroom and sex is implied: we see them seated in a stall and disheveled and the woman’s cleavage and partial breast are shown. A man and woman kiss in a shower and we see their bare shoulders and her partial breast and cleavage. A woman leans into the window of a car, pulls her tank top down to reveal deep cleavage and when she gets into the car she asks the driver what he wants (he describes two sex acts) and she sprays him in the face with pepper spray (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
 A woman looks at a man and says, “You’re my guy,” then says, “Kiss me,” and they kiss. A woman kisses a man and walks away. A shirtless man (we see his shoulders, chest and back) and a woman wearing a shirt hug in a swimming pool. A silhouette drawing shows a man and a woman dancing, the man dips the woman and we see the outline of her breast.
 Several women wearing skimpy outfits (cleavage, bare abdomens and legs are seen) and walking on a sidewalk where men in cars pull up to the curb (presumably soliciting sex); one woman leans into a car window to speak to the driver, gets into the car and they drive away (we do not see what transpires). A man whistles suggestively at a woman as she walks away from him. A man and a woman sleep snuggling in the stairwell of an apartment building. A man talks about being recently divorced.
 A man walks past another man on a street and pulls down his pants to reveal his bare buttocks as he throws him a kiss. A woman wears a low-cut top that reveals cleavage in several scenes throughout the movie. A woman’s dress in a drawing reveals cleavage and bare shoulders. Mannequins are shown in a few scenes with breasts and abdomens visible. Statues of women are seen in a couple of scenes with bare breasts, abdomens and buttocks shown. A toilet flushes off-screen and a man enters an office zipping up his pants (no flesh is seen). A young man is shown shirtless (we see his bare chest, abdomen and back).


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Bliss VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 – A man fires another man and leans over to touch his shoulder; the seated man stands up abruptly knocking the other man back and hard against a desk (he lies motionless on the floor and we see blood on the carpet under his head). A man struggles to hide another man’s body before leaving an office and loops his shirt cuffs around window latches and then pulls the curtains over him; he can still be seen from outside the building. A dead man propped against a window in a tall building falls when the window latches open and he slams onto a ledge before hitting the sidewalk below and people panic and scream.
 A woman gestures with her hand toward a man and a slash across his throat opens and gushes blood; she threatens another man with a knife. A man lies on a bathroom floor motionless (another man says that he passed out, but it’s not clear if he is still alive) and another man takes an item from him and his wallet (we see the man’s leg draped over a filthy toilet). A man and a woman steal a car and the woman finds a gun in the glove compartment; they go to a warehouse and the woman threatens a man with the gun, and then shoots him a few times (we see blood) and he falls dead. A man with a gun drives behind a man and a woman as they walk on a sidewalk; the man calls to the man and taps the gun on the side of the car threateningly, as the other man swallows some crystals, concentrates, and the car is lifted off the ground, crushed and slammed back to the ground.
 A man and a woman are surrounded by police officers with their guns drawn and the woman walks out into the open with her hands raised as the officers yell for her to drop something she has in her hand; the man runs away. A man speeds in a car, crashing into barrels and garbage cans while being chased by police cars. A woman leans into the window of a car (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details), and when she gets into the car she sprays the driver in the face with pepper spray; another man pulls him out of the driver’s seat and throws him to the ground, where he lies motionless as the man and the woman speed away in the car. Many people in a crowd press around a woman at a reception and she becomes increasingly uncomfortable; one man falls back onto a glass table shattering it; another man gestures toward the crowd and separates them. A man and a woman in a roller rink cause people to fall or be thrown or struck by fixtures and knocked to the floor; we see the man and the woman being arrested later. A man skating in the opposite direction in a roller rink barges between a man and a woman skating and holding hands. A man on a roller rink skates behind a woman and grabs her clothed buttock. A woman waves her hand toward a man carrying a tray with dishes and glasses and he spills the dishes onto the floor. A man points a lighter toward a group of candles in the distance and the candles light; a woman with him waves her hand and the candles are extinguished, and the man then points his finger at the candles and they light up again.
 A man tells a woman to kill him, by crushing his skull with a rock (she does not). A man rushes across a street toward a man and several security guards and police surround him as he yells. A man is upset when another man in an office doesn’t pick up his telephone; when he enters the man’s office, the first man grabs drawings off the second man’s desk and they tug on them back and forth until one man spills a cup of coffee on the desk. A woman complains to a man in a bar and tells him, “You deflected my powers.” A young man and a young woman argue about their estranged father and the young man says, “I can’t trust him anymore.” A woman yells at a man when he returns and she thought that he had left her; she seems to be having a panic attack and she slaps him in the face. A man and woman argue about her work and its validity. A man and woman wake up in the rain in a tarp-draped area. A man sits in a rehab center in a group meeting and talks about his daughter.
 A man and a woman enter a tarp-draped area under a highway and the man asks the woman, “Are you homeless?” A man talks about not wanting to complicate things with his ex-wife at his daughter’s college graduation. A man talks about having some pain (from an unidentified malady). A man orders food in a fast food restaurant but realizes he doesn’t have enough money so he leaves and sits in the back; a staff person brings him a bag of food later and tells him it is expired but fine.
 People carrying picket signs with complaints about wages march in front of an office building. A poster in an office reads, “Beware of the robots.” An office called “Technical Difficulties” is manned with people handling complaints over the phone.
 A man pulls a cover attached to a tube away from his nose and we see tendrils slithering around; the tubes are attached to several disembodied brains floating in a fluid-filled tank. A man vomits on a sidewalk after swallowing crystals and we see a stream of goo. A toilet flushes off-screen and a man enters an office where another man waits for him.


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Bliss LANGUAGE 7

 – About 27 F-words and its derivatives, 3 obscene hand gestures, 4 sexual references, 12 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 9 mild obscenities, name-calling (stupid, judgmental, telekinetic warrior, icky, boring, lab rat, dumb, grumpy, unpredictable, crazy, tedious, FGP-fake generated person, impossible, horrible, nightmare), exclamations (what the “F,” shut-up, wow, oh wow, come on baby, oh my gosh, oh yeah, good on you), 4 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God). | profanity glossary |


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Bliss SUBSTANCE USE

 – A man talks about taking pain medication (we see a vial but the drug is not identified), a man tries to refill a prescription and is told that he has already refilled the maximum number of times, a man crushes two pills on a desk and we hear sniffing off-screen as if he has snorted the resulting powder, a man walks past another man on a street and offers him a variety of drugs (he declines), a man uses a mechanism to inhale crystals through his nostrils (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a man and a woman take crystals that are implied to imbue them with powers in a few scenes, a woman puts a tablet into a man’s drink and he drinks it unknowingly, and a young man smokes what looks like a marijuana cigarette in an apartment. A man orders a double whiskey in a bar and drinks it, a man drinks from a can of beer, a man and a woman drink whiskey in a bar, people drink champagne at a party and at a reception, and a man and a woman drink wine. Several people smoke cigarettes outside an office building on a sidewalk, a woman smokes a cigarette outside a jail, a woman smokes cigarettes in several scenes, and we see a drawing of a woman smoking a cigarette in a few scenes.


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Bliss DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Simulations, doubt, reality, homelessness, memories, drug addiction, fantasy, pollution, reputation, poverty, automation, synthetic biology, asteroid mining, computer simulations, appreciating the good.

Bliss MESSAGE

 – Your life may be a simulation; or it isn’t. Perhaps an imperfect simulation can be more satisfying than your perfect reality; or it may be simulations all the way.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.

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