"Bliss" is an enthralling motion picture, and one of the most
educational films I've ever seen, but that is where it somewhat runs
into problems, because it plays as an instructional guide on making your
sex life better, rather than one that has a thorough story and
"Bliss" tells of Joseph (Craig Sheffer) and Marie (Sheryl Lee), two
newlyweds who are having some trouble relating to each other sexually.
While at an appointment with their sex therapist (Spalding Gray), Joseph
is surprised and upset when Maria admits that she has never had an
orgasm while making love to him, instead faking it each time. Meanwhile,
at the construction site where he works, Joseph and his coworkers
delight in spying on an older man, who constantly all day, has different
women come in his apartment and have sex with him, until Joseph sees
Maria going in there one day. When Joseph goes to confront him at his
apartment, he discovers that the man, named Baltazar Vincenza, also
works as a sex therapist "on the edge of the law," and that Maria has
been secretly going to him. Baltazar believes that he can help all
people with their love lives, but that first, his customers must
understand that the highest point in a sexual relationship is not an
orgasm, but "emotional bliss."
I don't really want to give anything else away, since there are a few
surprises that occur towards the end that should be discovered on their
own, and from reading my synopsis, I am sure it does not sound like your
The central storyline between the couple could be described as
uninvolving, since much of the picture takes place during the training
sessions between Joseph and Baltazar, but the reason that, "Bliss," is a
worthwhile film to see is because I feel that I learned a lot from it,
and the subject was treated in a mature, respectful manner.
Craig Sheffer and Sheryl Lee are both appealing actors, and they are
very good here, creating a lot of warmth in the scenes they were in
together. And Terence Stamp is just right as this mysterious man who
says he has the answer to all people's sexual sufferings.
When I said that, "Bliss," is a worthwhile motion picture to see, the
target audience I was referring to were people from about ages 16 and
up. The material dealt with in this film contains many sexually graphic
sequences, and in order for the true point of the film to be fully
understood, it really is only for more older viewers. "Bliss," is an
intelligent and informative instruction guide, but it does not offer
much more than that, nor should it have to.
Copyright © 1998 Dustin Putman