After the dystopian year that 2020 was, Amazon Studios has come out with an unexpected movie about learning to appreciate the good in a situation even in the middle of a truly terrible circumstance. Enter: Bliss, released on Feb. 5 2021 to Amazon Prime exclusively. The film stars Owen Wilson as Greg Wittle and Salma Hayek as Isabel Clemens as they embark on a journey to discover what is the true nature of reality. You've been warned! Here's the ending of Bliss, explained.
The message of 'Bliss' attempts to encourage its viewers to see the positive in a dystopian present.
When viewers are introduced to main character Greg, his life is kind of a mess. Clearly addicted to painkillers and fired from his job, he accidentally kills his boss and flees to a bar across the road. There, he meets the mysterious Isabel.
The story follows the pair through a series of hijinks, formulated around the belief that they are in a simulation and nothing else matters. When the story cuts back to Greg in the "real world," his daughter, Emily, pleads with him to come with her. Instead, Greg reunites with Isabel, and they do drugs, with Isabel shortly thereafter insisting that Emily is a simulation and "not real." Isabel insists they are actually scientists from a utopian world performing an experiment.
Isabel assures Greg he will remember all of this soon enough as long as he takes some blue crystals meant to "wake" him from the simulation. Unfortunately, it appears he didn't take enough, and they've brought some of the negative simulation into the utopian reality. Isabel's behavior is increasingly erratic, and Greg tells her that he wants to stay where he is with or without the drugs.
Greg then runs to a rehab center, where the therapist in charge explains they're all recovering from the effects of chasing "bliss," which is seemingly the name of the drug that has kept the utopian ideal going. As it turns out, Emily is actually the "real" world, and Isabel had succumbed to addiction as equally as Greg did.
Is there a message or moral to 'Bliss' and its ending?
The overarching theme seems to be that you have to take the good with the bad, no matter the circumstance. In the film, the characters have an argument about which way around it is. (“You have to experience the good in order to appreciate the bad," Isabel says. “No, the other way around," Greg corrects her, to which she replies, "Exactly.”) And in truth, both are possible.
It's difficult, especially in times where there's a pandemic raging to think positively, but director Mike Cahill seems to be saying that no matter the struggle, "reality" and all its difficulties is the most worthwhile because you're with people you care about. Bliss is available to watch now on Amazon Prime.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357.