"Paul Sheldon used to write for a living. Now he's writing to stay alive."
Every time I watch Misery, I like it more and more. There's just so much talent involved here. First off, there's the source material from Stephen King. Misery is one of his finest stories. Then there's screenwriter William Goldman who does a good job of writing the story for the screen. Barry Sonnenfeld as cinematographer and of course Rob Reiner. Reiner knows how to make great adaptions of King's books; Stand By Me and Misery speak for themselves. And you can't forget about two stunning performances given by James Caan and Kathy Bates(who took home an Oscar for her psycho performance). There's just too much greatness for Misery to not be good.
As in many of King's stories, the protagonist is a writer. This time he is actually a successful one to boot. He has a long running franchise of Misery books, and he's just finished his last one. He is deciding to move on from Misery and decides to kill her off. While driving home from his regular writing spot in Colorado; he gets into a blizzard and crashes. "Luckily" for him, a nice woman, who just happens to be his number one fan, pulls him from the wreckage and takes him home. At first she seems like the nicest woman in the world, but she has an angry side and quite a past as well.
The movie works well in many genres. At times it is just a drama, then it's a thriller and it even has moments of pure horror. There are scenes of high tension. My favorite scene is where Annie leaves the house and Paul wheels himself around the house. As he explores, we see Annie getting closer and closer to home. What will happen? Well that is just part of that high tension.
Misery is regarded as one of the best King adaptions ever, and that claim is totally justified. Through the picture perfect pacing and the magnificent performances, we are shown the true brilliance of King's story just about as well as it could have been done. Kathy Bates plays a mood swinging psychopath to perfection. Her fits of rage are simply astounding. Caan does a good job in performance, where for the most part, he is either laying on his back or sitting in a wheel chair at a typewriter.
While there's other King films I like more, this is still an all-time classic. Rich in character and in plot, it works like magic; putting in the viewer in the same helpless state that Paul is in. Misery is a must see.
Great movie! The story was very good and disturbing. From now on every time I see Kathy Bates on a film I'll remember her from this movie. She acted so well and psychotic that she won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1991. I was very impress how she took it to another level completely. 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. Great movie from Rob Reiner.
In this darkly humorous thriller, James Caan portrays Romantic novelist Paul Sheldon, famously renowned for his trademark character, the film's namesake 'Misery' Chastaine. shortly after finishing his latest book, he drives of back to New York from the Silver Creek lodge. After a while, his car swerves off the icy road in a blizzard. In the car, he has a flashback in which he is talking to his agent (portrayed by Lauren Bacall) about his last Misery book. He is rescued by nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) who takes him back to her house for two days and reveales that she is his number one fan, hence the infamous quote "I'm your number one fan". When Annie asks if she can read his new book (in manuscript form) she proves to be more than a little eccentric when she lashes out in a fit of rage over the swearing in his book. When she leaves the room he seems fraked out and looks like he wants to leave quickly. The next day, Annie brings home a copy of the final Misery book and over the days reveals how many pages she has read. During which, she introuces him to her pet sow, Misery.
The following night, she nearly kills him over the fact that he has killed Misery in his final book, tells him that she never called the local hospital (which she said she had) and threatens to kill him if anything happens to her. He immediately tries to escape but fails. The next day, Annie seems happy and tries to persuade him to burn the manuscript to which he seems reluctant. Later, she reveals she wants him to write a new book in which Misery comes back to life. When he sees a hairpin on the floor, he has an idea to buy time, he asks Annie to buy some different paper because his current paper smudges, to which she responds with another fit of rage. Whilst she is out shopping, Paul uses the hairpin to unlock his bedroom door and escape. However, he soon finds out that the front door is locked as well. He makes a visit to her living room and medicine closet. In the living room he accidentally knocks a small ceramic penguin off the table and puts it back the wrong way (this will become important later). He also realises that Annie's phone is a fake one, cancelling his chances of contacting the outside world. In the medicine closet, he takes some of the pills the Annie had been giving him for his fracture. He also tries to escape through her back door in the kitchen but cannot open it (I forgot to mention that he was bedridden for a few days and currently in a wheelchair). Soon, he hears Annie returning and immediately races back to his room. Fortunately, he gets back to his room in time just when she opens the door. She gets him back into bed and gives him a notepad and his pills (which he pretends to swallow).
The following night, he saves up a lot of powder from the pills. In the morning, an argument starts between Paul and Annie about the book, which escalates into a humorous fit of rage about her growing up in Bakersfield watching chapter plays. Meanwhile, the local authorities find Sheldon's '65 Mustang buried in the snow. When Annie reads some of Paul's new manuscript she responds happily. Paul requsts that Annie have dinner with him to celebrate Misery's return. At the dinner, Paul makes a toast to Misery's return but asks if she has any candles. Whilst Annie is looking for them, Paul puts the powder in her wine. When she returns she almost makes the toast but drops her drink in the process, ruining Paul's plan.
The next scene shows a line of clips of Paul writing the book. In the last clip, Annie gives him his pills and talks about committing suicide. When she leaves the house, he goes out of his room again and reads her scrapbook. It includes many newspaper clippings, revealing that she killed her father, her college roommate and many patients in hospitals. He grabs a knife from the kitchen and wheels himself to his room. Later, he awakens to the sight of Annie as she forcibly sedates him. In the morning, she ties him to the bed and reveals that she knows that he has been out of his room (the scrapbook, the ceramic penguin, the hairpin). Then, she 'hobbles' him (puts a block of wood betwen his feet and hits them with a sledgehammer)
In the next scene, 'Buster' the local sheriff sees an emotional outburst in the town and researches her history. Later, he pays a visit to her house to look around. When he leaves, he hears a noise and goes back inside to find Paul in the basement and is shot by Annie. When she says she wants to kill him then herself, he requests finishing the book first. later, he is writing the book and requests 3 things: a cigarette, matches, and Dom Perignon champagne. When Annie returns, he also requests two glasses. whilst she is out of the room, he pours flammable liquid onto the manuscript and burns it, which escalates into a brawl resulting in Annie's death.
18 months later, Paul is seen in a restaurant with his agent, refusing to write a book about his experiences. He mistakes a waitress for Annie in a haunting vision as she repeats Annie's line: "I'm your number one fan".
James Caan, plays the part of the tortured writer,Paul Sheldon,whos car goes off the road,where he would of been left to die,if he had not been rescued by his biggest fan Annie,played by Kathy Bates,who plays such a completely believable part as the psychotic obsessed fan of his.
Misery is a chilling thriller which kept me glued to my seat !!
A good movie and really worth a watch!
Kathy Bates' portrayal of Annie stands as one of the best performances by a woman in a suspense/horror movie that I've ever seen. From the very beginning she projects a vague sense of wrongness, and eventually that evolves into a terrifyingly unhinged obsession. Who new that a chunky, plain woman could be so frightening?
Misery is a good adaptation of a good story, and it will keep you wincing and on the edge of your seat for virtually the entire two hours that it takes to watch it. It's less weird than a lot of King's work, so even if you're not into most of his books/movies, you might still find yourself enjoying this thriller.