Movie Review – Misery (1990)

by on July 30th, 2010
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One of my favorite movies of all time is this old chestnut “Misery” based on the novel by Stephen King and directed by Rob Reiner. The film also catapulted Kathy Bates to an Academy Award with the help of her co-star James Caan.

Famous mystery writer Paul Sheldon is rescued from his automobile accident during a blizzard by nurse Annie Wilkes and is taken home by her to recuperate from his injuries. Annie reveals to Paul that she is his number #1 fan and has read all of his books. She finds his latest finished manuscript in his belonging from his demolished car, reads it and discovers to her chagrin that Paul has killed off her favorite character Misery in the final chapter. Therein begins the horrific chain of events which keeps the reader in suspense.

I didn’t realize that Stephen King had such a sense of humor but Misery brings out the best in him. The audience doesn’t know whether to laugh or to cry or to scream in horror. Paul’s efforts to outwit his captor are no match for Annie’s antics as she swings from adoration to hatred and back.

The plot thickens when Paul is finally able to unlock his bedroom door and explore the rest of the house when Annie has gone to town for supplies. Annie’s past is revealed when Paul comes upon her scrapbook of newspaper clippings of past events implicating her in some serious wrongdoing.

A cameo appearance by the stunning Lauren Bacall who portrays Paul’s literary agent, Marcia Sidell, is a refreshing break in the ever-increasing gory scenes as Paul and Annie try to outmaneuver each other.

This film is timeless. Each time I view it, I see something new. Kathy Bates did walk away with the Oscar, but James Caan deserves as much credit for his role as Paul Sheldon which he pulls off with aplomb. I plan to see this film in another five years or so to catch more of the nuances which I missed this time around.


Movie: Misery (1990)

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