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Misery is a dark, but witty venture into Stephen King territory. It's
a popular novelist who crashes his car on a snowy mountain road and is
rescued by a nurse who claims she is his number one fan. As the time
by, he realizes she has no intention of letting him leave.
The film moves with a brisk, taut pace thanks to director Rob Reiner, who helmed another excellent Stephen King film, Stand By Me. Tension is kept mostly throughout (there are some predictable moments...but who cares?) And the performances are also a major plus. James Caan is very easy to empathize with, and he manages to keep his cynical sense of humor. Richard Farnsworth, as a grizzled sheriff was a nice addition to the film since his character didn't exist in the book. He also has a nice sense of humor, and he's the kind of guy who you want to root for. But the most amazing performance is from Kathy Bates, who treads a fine line alternating between sweet and lovable to amazingly evil. She won an Oscar for this movie, and whole-heartedly deserved it.
Side note: This is one of the few films which took an Oscar, that you can actually say the Academy had the guts to give out. Can anyone name another horror film which won such a notable prize?
ANyway...by the end, the novelist and the viewer or put through some torturous activity. We sometimes feel his pain, and it is so much fun to hate this woman................the book is excellent.....the movie is just as good in about 1/6th of the time it would take to read. Either way, enjoy!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Misery is without a doubt one of the best films of the 90's, and in my
opinion, Stephen King's best adaptation into a movie. This is TRUE
horror, there's no monsters, no mega special effects, just Kathy Bates
who is truly made the big time on one of the scariest villains in
horror movie history.
It's about a man named Paul Sheldon, he's an author, made incredibly famous by his popular books, specially his series called "Misery", the books are apparently about a woman in the old days who goes through heavy times in her life and he shares her pain and strength with the readers. When he finishes his last Misery book, he decides to celebrate and is heading back for his daughter's birthday, but he gets caught in a horrible blizzard and gets into a nasty and fatal car accident, but is saved by Kathy Bates, or as we know her Annie.
He wakes up in a bedroom with his legs badly broken, bruised up, and cut up, but hears a light and charming voice saying "You're going to be just fine. I'm your number one fan!". Annie nurses Paul back to health and says she'll get an ambulance once the storm clears up. She's so lovely and charming, you would never have any clue that she'd even just harm a fly. But when she gets ahold of Paul's last Misery book, she gets infuriated when she finds out that he's killing off Misery and continuing onto more dramatic and dark stories. She makes him write a new Misery where she is resurrected, Paul used to write for a living, now he's writing to stay alive. Discovering slowly how crazy Annie is, he tries to escape more and more, but Annie is so convinced she's in love with him, she'll never let him go!
Kathy Bates truly is the amazing star of the film, she is so disturbing to watch. Especially during the "hobbing" scene, she breaks Paul's legs again, she makes it seem so innocent, but it's HORRIFYING to watch! Both her and James worked so well together and were just incredible. The movie is so awesome, I would highly recommend this movie for anyone! It's a movie not to be missed.
Based on the novel by him, 'Misery' is a real Stephen King film. It is
a drama film, but also a thriller and sometimes even a horror. In one
scene the horror is very clear, you will know what scene I mean.
Writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan) gets in a car accident. He is helped by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) who claims she is his number one fan. In his latest novel Sheldon has killed the favorite character of Annie making her a little mad. She keeps Sheldon in her home; he has to bring the character back to life in his next novel.
Bates, who won an Oscar, is terrific as Annie, one of her finest performances. James Caan who is in bed or a wheelchair most of the film is very convincing. The room he is living in is one of those spaces in the movies you will not forget very soon. Directed by Rob Reiner this is a great film, although it could be a bit slow for some from time to time.
"Misery" accomplishes something which Hitchcock achieved in "Psycho"
but which very few modern horror films achieve: it entertains without
seeming exploitative. Even the movie's most gruesome scene, which ranks
up there as one of the more memorably horrifying moments in all of
cinema, ends with a laugh that somehow doesn't cheapen the
material--maybe because it arises so naturally from the basic situation
which the movie takes very seriously. We're not being urged to find the
violence itself entertaining, as is the case for so many horror films
these days. Rather, the humor is a way of breaking the tension of a
desperate, nightmarish scenario. It is, we suspect, what helps the
protagonist survive the ordeal.
Like many of the greatest thrillers, "Misery" begins with a bizarre set of coincidences. A bestselling romance novelist named Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is on his way to the countryside to work on his next book when a blizzard causes his car to crash, leaving him severely injured and unable to walk. Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), a retired nurse and obsessive fan who was following him, takes care of him in her house without letting him leave or contact anyone. She is upset that he has recently killed off a central character in his series, and she forces him to write the new book more to her liking, though in total isolation from the outside world. His family and friends fear him dead, but the local sheriff (Richard Farnsworth) is investigating a little more closely.
"Misery" belongs to a unique genre in which a single character is trapped in a small area and spends the entire story attempting to escape. I've been fascinated by this type of story ever since I first read Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum." With his fine attention to detail, Stephen King has made two notable contributions to the genre: "Misery," and the unfilmable "Gerald's Game" (where a woman spends the entire novel handcuffed to a bed in the middle of nowhere). Everything is topsy-turvy in a story like this. The protagonist must adapt to a weird new set of rules that put a diabolical twist on normal routines. To most people, a house is a mundane setting where you wake up every day and leave without blinking an eye. For a house to become a prison seems almost unthinkable. Stories like "Misery" have the urgency of a nightmare, where the thing you fear most is always on the verge of happening.
In particular, this movie has much in common with the 1962 suspense drama "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" (which I recommend). The basic structure of the story is the same, involving a disabled person in the house of an insane woman, who subjects her captive to physical and psychological tortures while almost everyone on the outside doesn't even know the victim exists. But in the older film, the motives were simpler, rooted in sibling jealousy and old wounds. "Misery" brings the conceit to a new level by making the captive a famous writer and the kidnapper a crazed fan. The movie makes much of the irony that she's a pretty good editor. She's not really sadistic or vengeful, as was the case with the Bette Davis character in "Baby Jane." The tortures she inflicts on Paul are the natural result of her trying to fit him into her bizarre little world.
Kathy Bates won an Oscar for her performance, one of only three horror performances ever to receive that award. (The other two are Fredric March for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and Anthony Hopkins for "Silence of the Lambs.") One of the best actresses working today, she's fortunate not to have been typecast in this sort of role. She later proved herself quite adept at playing vulnerable women, like the battered wife in "Dolores Claiborne." She brings to the role of Annie a certain earthiness that you don't expect in this kind of role. She plays the character as a woman who doesn't perceive herself as insane, who acts bubbly and cheerful most of the time and seems to view her sudden mood shifts as merely a personal weakness. At times, the movie almost comes off as a demented parody of a normal relationship between a man and woman living together.
The very best of the Stephen King horror movies, "Misery" is a film which I count among my favorites even though it is so intense I sometimes have trouble sitting through the whole thing. With a screenplay by William Goldman, who has a knack for developing bizarre torture scenes (the Nazi dentist torture in "Marathon Man," the Machine in "The Princess Bride"), the movie manages to be scary and classy at the same time--a rare feat for a modern horror picture. Kathy Bates is in my nightmares!
Misery has to be the best adaptation of a Stephen King novel. A close runner up is Stand By Me, but for suspense and tension that just gets tighter and tighter, watch Misery. Kathy Bates can go from nice and cheerful to downright crazy like someone turning on a light switch. While watching James Caan suffer through the torture that Bates puts him through, you can't help but sympathize with the guy. Rob Reiner presents us with the problem, and he slowly escalates the tension and the dread that creeps over the movie. Even though the book was different in the "hobbling" process, Annie Wilkes' method of hobbling still gives me the chills whenever I watch it.
Writer William Goldman and director Rob Reiner do Hitchcock proud with
this one. It has all the elements: a seemingly innocent place and
situation invaded by a growing sense of sinister dread until a
breathtaking climax. The intelligent script is peppered with moments
that will either make you cringe or make you laugh, depending on how
morbid your sense of humor is. It is a harrowing movie to watch the
first time around. The crew has done a good job of making you feel Paul
Sheldon's pain. Few films torture the audience like this one. In fact,
I venture to say this is the best film of its kind since "Psycho"
thirty years earlier.
The acting is good all-round. Farnsworth steals every scene he's in with his sardonic and relentless sheriff - he did not get enough accolades for what would have been a routine part in a lesser actor's hands. Caan is solid and underplays beautifully, and the inimitable Kathy Bates carries the film with her alternately hysterical or ridiculously-sappy Annie, the psychotic Sheldon fan. Her performance is a throwback to Hollywood's old days - it's not subtle, not quiet, and borders on over-acting. This is not method acting, this is showing off. But Bates makes it work, investing Annie with enough pitifulness to make the character complex and, thus, hold the role together. This movie is famous, of course, for making Kathy Bates an overnight sensation as everybody went into the movie wanting to see what Sonny Corleone looked like as an older man, but left with accolades for Kathy Bates on their lips. She is absolutely terrifying and unforgettable in this role and perfect for it.
Brilliant performance that elevated a 7-star thriller to 9-10 classic status.
Horror movies generally aren't my cup of tea, but people have always
talked about how great Misery is. So I decided to give it a look when
it came on TV today. All I can say is that I was definitely not
disappointed; this was an amazing movie.
Misery is the story of writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan), who is driving through a snowstorm after just having finished his newest novel. The car crashes, and it seems that Paul will die, trapped in his car in the snow in a deserted forest, when he is rescued by a mysterious stranger. She turns out to be Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), a former nurse who dresses his wounds and gives him a comfortable bed. In addition, it turns out that Annie is Paul's self-proclaimed Number 1 Fan. Specifically, she is obsessed with the Misery Chastain series, Paul's major claim to fame. Annie keeps Paul in an isolated room for days, then weeks, as the outside world searches for him. Eventually, when Annie objects to the content of Paul's latest manuscript, and when she has a hysterical reaction to the death of Misery in the latest novel, Paul (and the audience) come to see that there may be something wrong with Annie.
Caan and Bates were absolutely stunning in their performances. The vast majority of this movie focused on them, so it was crucial that they both be able to convey the sense that something horrific was going on. It was no surprise that Kathy Bates won the Best Actress Oscar for her role. Everything in this movie really worked to show just how trapped Paul was, and how hopeless his situation seemed. And of course, this movie left a few indelible images in the mind. (One in particular comes to mind, and I really wish that I hadn't seen that scene previously on some other TV show; that almost took away from the impact of seeing it in context.) So, if you are a fan of suspenseful fare, or you just want to see a horror movie (mostly) sans blood and guts, Misery is for you. You will never, ever want to hear anyone say that they're a fan of yours again.
Misery is my favorite Stephen King thriller. Misery displays a writer held hostage by his #1 fan. Misery is a spectacular movie because it keeps you wondering what will happen next. Kathy Bates' performance was the best and I'm glad she won an Oscar. Misery is one of King's real-life situation novels. I think that's what he's nest at, writing about real things. Yet, his horror books are still pretty scary and wild. Reiner impressed me with his direction in this film. Highly recommended, if you have any comments for me, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MISERY (1990) *** Kathy Bates, James Caan, William Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen, Lauren Bacall. Bates, perfectly cast as loony tune Annie Wilkes, won an Oscar for Best Actress as the self-proclaimed `#1 fan' of bodice-ripping novelist Caan, who finds himself in her web of horror after a car crash landing him in the snow engulfed remote home of his sociopathic, homicidal nurse who will not take no for an answer. William Goldman expertly adapts the Stephen King best seller with a few nice nasty turns here and there and Rob Reiner gives just enough gruesomeness (watch the sledgehammer scene a few times; you'll see what I mean) for frightful flavor.
"Misery" is one of those films that over-achieves. The material is not very good, the plot is somewhat thin, and most of the characters are one-dimensional. However, with that said Kathy Bates takes the material and runs with it all the way to the bank. This film made her a household name and provided her with a Best Actress Oscar in 1990. She stars as a crazed fan who cares for author James Caan after he's involved in a near-fatal auto accident in the middle of nowhere. Quickly her mood goes from cheerful to downright frightening when she learns that Caan's fictional heroine "Misery" will die in his newest novel. Caan's character is not very well developed and this somewhat stalls the film, but it really does not matter because of Bates's performance. All in all, "Misery" is one of Stephen King's novels that actually plays well on film. If Bates were taken away, I am not sure how this film would fare. Thank goodness we do not have to find out. 4 out of 5 stars
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