Bliss (1997) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bliss (1997)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A provocative drama about sex, love, and trust, Bliss concerns Joseph (Craig Sheffer) and Maria (Sheryl Lee), a young married couple whose relationship is in serious trouble. While they love each other, Maria has difficulty opening up to Joseph, and, after six months of marriage, he makes the unhappy discovery that she's been unable to have an orgasm with him (though she's been willing to let him think otherwise). At work, Joseph and his co-workers notice a steady stream of beautiful women visiting an apartment across the street; the scuttlebutt around the office is that some sort of shady sex therapist works out of the building. One day, Joseph is shocked to see Maria visiting the apartment, and he bursts in and demands to know what's happening. The apartment does indeed house an unlicensed sex therapist, who goes by the name of Balthazar (Terence Stamp), and, before long, Joseph realizes that Balthazar's teaching are about the mind as much as the body, and that he's less concerned with orgasm than with "bliss," which he considers an emotional and spiritual as well as physical state. Before long, Joseph has convinced Balthazar to teach him what he knows about tantric healing and sex, in the hope that he can help heal Maria's emotional scars, as well as help himself become a better man. Bliss was the debut feature for writer/director Lance Young.more
Rating: R (or graphic sex scenes with strong sex-related dialogue, and for language)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Lance Young, Lance Young
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 11, 2003
Sony Pictures Entertainment


Terence Stamp
as Balthazar Vincenza
Eli Gabay
as Carlo
Babs Chula
as Maxine
Susan Bain
as 1st Woman
Kendall Cross
as 2nd Woman
Sandra P. Grant
as Dark Beauty
Merrilyn Gann
as Motel Woman
Gillian Barber
as Therapist
Peter Kelamis
as Neighbor
Elizabeth Long
as Scope/Steps Woman
Ravinder Toor
as Turban Man
Helena Yea
as Produce Woman
Alicia Bell
as Maria (age 8)
Akesh Gill
as Therapy Woman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Bliss

Critic Reviews for Bliss

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (9)

Writer/director Lance Young is so relentlessly solemn ... that some viewers may giggle.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 6, 1997
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bliss

I love Sheryl Lee, but I found this film to be dreadful. It's ridiculous, laughable and poorly executed. Everything about it is a joke.

Quinto Wallight

Super Reviewer


This was a weird one to watch, as it takes a bizarro approach to a couple who are unable to connect sexually, essentially asking the husband in a relationship to open himself up to the most invasive forms of therapy, which involves Terence Stamp pleasuring his wife and eventually teaching him how to do this himself.

It all feels a lot like a glorified Cinemax sex thriller, with more love trappings laid over the sex framework to punch it up a bit.

Worth a look for some hot Sheryl Lee action, but not a lot else in my opinion.


Surprisingly decent drama, buoyed largely by Terence Stamp's excellent performance, and a script that's pretty smart. This is not a straight-to-cable softcore flick like the box is trying to sell you.

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