Amazon’s Bliss 2021 Ending Explained-Salma Hayek and Owen Wilson Are Having Technical Difficulties
Is there a glitch in the system in Bliss, or are we watching a sad downward spiral into drug addiction and psychotic breaks?
The 2021 movie Bliss by Amazon Studios, not to be confused with heavy metal nightmare Bliss starring Dora Madison, is a science fiction fairy tale courtesy of the Matrix and Agent Smith. Greg Whittle(Owen Wilson) is a newly unemployed, divorced, sad man who inadvertently killed his boss. Rather than face the digital music, he chooses to cover it up and run. Shortly after his workplace accident, he meets prophetic weirdo Isabel played gloriously animated by Salma Hayek. She offers him a few sage words, a demonstration of her potential powers, and an apology for his current circumstance.
Isabel further explains everything is fake. The only thing that is real is her, the ex-boyfriend who stole her necklace, and Greg himself. She has answers for everything. Greg drew pictures of Isabel because they are meant to be together in their other life. The only catch is his children are also simulations, and all the love and devotion he has for them needs to be forgotten in favor of the mysterious yellow and blue crystals which make him invincible. By the end of the film, he is faced with a choice, take the blue pills and remain in bliss or choose life with his daughter. Is any of it real? Here’s what Bliss is really about.
Does Emily exist?
Sadly, yes, Emily and the rest of the real world do exist. Greg has numbed his pain with increasing doses of pharmaceuticals. Some of them legal, and others decidedly not. The more time he spends with Isabel taking drugs, the more removed from reality he becomes. The world outside the simulation and all the magical powers he thinks he has are tricks of a fevered mind. Lucky for him, Emily never gives up on him and continues to search long after he gives up on life. At the end of the film he Greg finally remembers he has something to live for even if he can’t fully remember Emily.
The mystery of the amulet.
Curiously the amulet looks suspiciously like the pain medication pill bottle he is rationing pills from early in the film. Isabel claims this amulet has the power to control everything. The amulet is a symbol of the power of his medication. It can numb his mind and make his troubles disappear. From conversations between his son and daughter, it becomes clear he has been a drug addict for some time. Isabel offers him crystals from her amulet to help Greg find his real life and find agency in a world that often feels unfair. Addiction is a seductive mistress that he can not say no to even if it costs him his family.
Do Isabel and Greg really have any powers in Bliss?
Everything is a sad construct of two very sick minds. There are no special powers, and Isabel and Greg do not have the power to right wrongs, light candles, crush vans, or anything else. Everything is in their drug-addled minds. The only real power they possess is the power of self-delusion. Everything we see is through their eyes, and they are unreliable witnesses. They wish they have power and the combination of a shared delusion and drugs caused them to believe what we saw as the truth. They are both sad lonely people both dealing with a crippling addiction.
Are they really in a Matrix style simulation?
Greg is desperate to escape his reality. He spends all day drawing pictures of a life he never has and will never have. For Greg, every day is a daydream as he moves from one reverie to another in search of something to numb the pain. In all likelihood, all we watched was the last gasp of a downward spiral of a sick mind. Too many pills and too much time spent with his thoughts led to a complete break with reality.
Halfway through, Isabel and Greg take rare blue crystals and eject themselves from the simulation. Once outside the grimy nastiness of our world, they find themselves in a sterile world, where they are both doctors running a computer-generated study. They are clean, well adjusted, and well respected. The world is sunny and pristine. It is an idyllic seaside town just like the one he drew. Little by little, the two worlds bleed together as his separate realities crash into one another.
One of the clues that Isabel’s story could be fake is the hotel Greg drew in the other world. Isabel asks if this is how you imagined it, not is this how you remembered it. While he has a cryptic conversation with Bill Nye, the Science Guy, his daughter finds him in the real world. It’s not explicitly stated which world is real; however, faith should be your guide in Bliss. Our brains have a nasty way of tricking us into protecting ourselves. Rationalization explains away all the hardships and insecurities. While Greg is living his best life with Isabel outside the simulation, his daughter searches for him in the real world. He can’t face what he has become, and rather than go towards Safe Harbor, the rehab facility he draws as he invents an entire life.
A second clue is a cobbled-together robot we see near Isabel’s lair towards the end of the movie. It looks suspiciously like the robot that cleans and cooks for them in their perfect world. Like Bug, where one sick person convinces another vulnerable mind of truth so absurd it has to be accurate, Bliss is about one man’s journey to find himself and reclaim the family he loves before it is too late.
What is bliss?
It is a state of mind. Isabel’s research’s whole premise was by having a frame of reference for happiness, you can appreciate it. By experiencing the pain and sadness of the brain box world, you gain the ability to be happy truly. Without it, you are doomed to descend back into anger, regret, and devastating depression. Only after Greg lets of the fantasy and drugs is he able to find his peace. The other world may have seemed perfect, but this reality has everything he needs to be happy. It will be a difficult road back, but ignorance is never bliss.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.