Misery (1990) – Rated R
“Former nurse Annie Wilkes saves her idol, romance novelist Paul Sheldon, after he crashes his car during a blizzard. But when she learns he plans to kill off her heroine in his next volume, Annie morphs from nurturing caregiver to sadistic jailer.”
“And don’t even think about anybody coming for you. Not the doctors, not your agent, not your family. Cause I never called them. Nobody knows you’re here. And you better hope nothing happens to me. Because if I die… you die. “
If you have not seen this, Kathy Bates is absolutely fantastic. How good is she? She played a psychopath so convincingly (and wincingly – you know the scene I mean) that she beat out Meryl Streep for an Oscar. Interestingly Anjelica Huston was originally offered the role but had to turn it down because she was working on The Grifters. Huston was nominated for an Oscar for her work in that film but lost to Bates.
This is not to say that the other performances are bad. It is wonderful to see Lauren Bacall in any movie even if this amounts to little more than a cameo. Richard Farnsworth and Frances Sternhagen do quite a bit with their limited roles and are always a pleasure. James Caan does quite well as Paul Sheldon, our Stephen King substitute. Caan is overshadowed by Bates in almost every scene but is great as a foil.
As with his previous adaptation of a Stephen King story (Stand by Me), director Rob Reiner shows that he knows that what makes King stories work are the characters. William Goldman, hot off his collaboration with Reiner on The Princess Bride, does an excellent job of adapting King’s novel.
If you have already seen this film then watch it again knowing that King wrote this as a metaphor for his battle with substance abuse. There is a key scene in the film that is toned down from the book and yet the toning down makes it seem all the more gruesome – much like not seeing Frankenstein’s monster toss the little girl in the lake is actually scarier.
People Watch: Look for Rob Reiner as a helicopter pilot and J.T. Walsh as State Trooper Sherman Douglas in uncredited cameos.