Misery (1990)

Director: Rob Reiner
Writer: William Goldman
Based on: Stephen King‘s novel
Cast: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen, Lauren Bacall

Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is a successful author. He became famous writing a series of novels about Misery, but he’s had enough of her. In his latest, soon to be published book, he killed her off and just finished his first none-Misery book, when he gets into a car crash. He is pulled out of the wreck by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), his self-professed number one fan. But it’s only when Annie discovers that Misery dies that the actual degree of Annie’s obsession becomes apparent.

It is obvious why Misery really put Kathy Bates on the acting map. She owned that film and stole every scene she was in. Altogether it’s a really strong film with a tense atmosphere that will keep you at the edge of your seat.


Misery was probably the last “big” Stephen King adaptation I had yet to see and I’ve been pushing it off because I hadn’t read the book yet. I still haven’t, but I decided I’ve been waiting long enough and it’s probably gonna take me longer still until I read the book. Contrary to Dreamcatcher (where I also saw the movie before reading the book) though, I don’t exactly know how Misery will be to read. Maybe because the topic matter isn’t completely typically Stephen King, but definitely because Rob Reiner managed to give the film his own flavor.

Though most of the time your focus is neither on Stephen King’s story nor Rob Reiner’s direction, but Kathy Bates’ acting. I mean, James Caan is good and he makes a believable, likeable hero, but it’s Kathy Bates who makes the film what it is. Her Annie is every nightmare of a psychotic fangirl and then some. It’s hypnotizing.

misery1There are other things I enjoyed about the film as well – from the Sheriff (Richard Farnsworth) and his hilarious partner and wife (Frances Sternhagen) to the cinematography, this was just a high quality film.

I’m glad that I didn’t wait any longer. Even though I would still like to read the book. But then I can always still re-watch the film – which I also plan on doing.

misery2Summarizing: Perfect.

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