Misery (1990) Film Review



Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is an author who has hit a high level of popularity after creating a series of books based on a character called Misery. (Best name for a character ever, I say). Upon completing his latest novel off in the mountains at a lodge where he likes to write, Paul sets home, only has a car accident in a storm. He is dragged from the wreckage by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), his number one fan. She nurses him back to health, but when she realises that he has killed off her Misery, she keeps him locked up until he can rewrite the story.

I’d dreaded watching this for years. I remember the trailer – especially the part with his legs and a sledgehammer. Eeek. I’m not a horror film lover, but when a friend loaned me the DVD and insisted I watch it, well, I had to step up to the challenge.

It is somewhat dated, though that is not a bad thing. Misery was made ten years after The Shining, and there are some obvious similarities – the isolation, the snow, the aggressive person wielding weapons on the innocent. Stephen King has written such a wide range of work with so many interpretations and for one key reason he’s extremely good at creating a compelling and exciting story. For me, I’ll stick to less scary things like Shawshank Redemption or The Green Mile, but Misery is definitely worth a look, even if you watch parts of it through your fingers, or from behind a pillow. I did.

Kate Bates won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.

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