Based on the chilling bestseller by Stephen King, Misery was brought to the screen by director Rob Reiner as one of the most effective thrillers of the 1990s. From a brilliant adaptation by screenwriter William Goldman, R... more »einer turned King's cautionary tale of fame and idolatry into a mainstream masterpiece of escalating suspense, translating King's own experience with obsessive fans into a frightening tale of entrapment and psychotic behavior. Kathy Bates deservedly won an Academy Award for her performance as Annie Wilkes, an unbalanced devotee of romance novels written by Paul Sheldon (James Caan), whose books provide Annie with a much-needed escape from her pathetic life and her secret, violent past. After Annie rescues the injured Sheldon from a car accident, she seizes the opportunity to nurse her favorite writer back to health, but her tender loving care soon turns to terrorism as she demands that Sheldon write his latest novel according to her wish-fulfillment fantasies. From this point forward, Misery percolates to a boil as equal parts mystery, thriller, and cleverly dark comedy, with the helpless author pitched in deadly warfare against his number one fan. While Bates carefully modulates her role from doting kindness to sympathetic loneliness and finally to horrifying ferocity, Caan is equally superb as the celebrated author who must literally write for his life. It's essentially a two-actor film, but Richard Farnsworth and Lauren Bacall are excellent in supporting roles as they investigate the writer's mysterious disappearance. Frightening, funny, and totally irresistible, Misery was such a hit that some of Bates's dialogue entered the popular lexicon (particularly her nagging reference to Caan as "Mister Man"), and its nail-biting thrills remain timelessly intense. --Jeff Shannon« less
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 02/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Misery is an exceedingly good adaptation of the original novel by Stephen King. The novel features one of King's most tightly-wound, increasingly suspenseful tales, and this movie faithfully brings the novel to life on the big screen. Paul Sheldon, America's best selling writer, creator of Misery Chastain and chronicler of her romantic and human struggles and successes, has just finished writing a "serious" novel he hopes will give him the stature he desires. On his trip home with the manuscript, a fierce blizzard causes him to lose control of his car. Annie Wilkes, his number one fan, finds his car at the bottom of a hill, pulls Sheldon out of it, and takes him home to nurse back to health. As Sheldon begins to adjust to his new surroundings, he is increasingly bothered by his caregiver's erratic mood swings. He soon finds himself a virtual prisoner in her house, essentially unable to move with his two mangled legs. When Annie reads his brand new book, she is exceedingly unhappy with it. When she gets the newly published Misery Chastain novel and finds out that her beloved Misty is dead, she begins unleashing her fury on Sheldon and insisting he resurrect Misty in a new novel written especially for her. All this time, the small mountain town's husband-and-wife police force search for any sign of the missing author (albeit halfheartedly). Eventually, Sheldon realizes escape is something only he can achieve for himself.James Caan is quite good as Paul Sheldon, but Kathy Bates simply is Annie Wilkes. Her performance as this complicated, mentally disturbed super-fan broods over this entire movie, making it the riveting thriller it is. Lauren Bacall, in what is an overlooked but rather amazing casting coup, lends her talents to the movie in the role of Sheldon's literary agent, while Richard Farnsworth and perennial King favorite Frances Sternhagen round out a truly excellent cast. King actually held out on this project until such time as it could be placed in the more than capable hands of director Rob Reiner. King had a special affection for this particular story, and he was not going to allow a second-rate adaptation of it to come to the big screen.The suspense of this story is basically psychological in nature, but there are two scenes of far more physical suffering. The hobbling scene is memorable to say the least, and another incident toward the end introduces a little blood to the film, but overall this is a movie that all lovers of suspense and human drama can appreciate. There are a lot of bad movies based on terrific Stephen King stories and novels, but this movie captures the powerful magic of the original novel as effectively as any King movie ever has."
"It's more than great. It's perfect."
R. Pepper | Los Angeles | 09/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finally a special edition of Misery! This has been previously released on Region 2 DVD but this is the first official Region 1 release. Kathy Bates won a much deserved Best Actress Oscar for her performance. This is one of Stephen King's best and while there are a few humorous moments most notably through Kathy's dialogue, the horror and suspense never fizzle in any way. This is one of the best horror/suspense pictures out there and should be in any fans collection for multiple viewings. Here are the special features:
Widescreen - 1.85
Dolby Digital Surround - Spanish
Dolby Digital 5.1 - English, French
Subtitles - English, Spanish - Optional
Additional Release Material:
Audio Commentaries - 1. Rob Reiner - Director
2. William Goldman - Screenwriter
Featurettes - 1. "Misery Loves Company"
2. "Marc Shaiman's Musical Misery Tour"
3. "Diagnosing Annie Wilkes"
4. "Advice for the Stalked"
5. "Profile of a Stalker"
6. "Celebrity Stalkers"
7. "Anti-Stalking Laws"
Trailers - 1. Original Theatrical Trailer
2. Original Theatrical Teaser
If The Shining and Jack Nicholson are the King of King films
Mike Liddell | Massachusetts | 10/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In my opinion The Shining is the greatest of all Stephen King adaptations and then Misery. There are actually a lot of similarities between Misery and The Shining. There both about writers, in secluded locations, who are deserted at some point due to a snow storm. They both have characters that aren't all there mentally and we are witness to their descent into madness and loss of reality. Both Bates and Nicholson have a way with tools, whether it be an axe or a sledge hammer, and with these tools they have cut and hobbled their way into our memories and into film history.
Kathy Bates is the star of this film and deserves her Oscar win as the at times lovable Annie Wilkes, the obsessed fan of author Paul Sheldon played by James Caan. Annie goes from saving Paul to keeping him hostage for her own agenda. The "shining" beacon of this film is without a doubt Kathy Bates who for me is one of the most memorable and witty villains of modern horror film up there with Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. With that said Caan is there like a dance partner for Bates every step of the way, he is like John Stockton to her Karl Malone always ready to assist her in enhancing the dark comedy throughout with his reactions by facial expression or perfect delivery of his lines. Caan's non verbal reactions to Annie's tirades are priceless and only enhance her dialouge. Pay attention to Caan's facial expressions during the scene when Annie explains about "chapter plays" and don't call them cliffhangers.
So getting back to the king and queen of horror, I had an idea, what if Bate's character Annie Wilkes had rescued/kidnapped Jack Nicholson's character Jack Torrance and what would that dialouge be like. I think it would go something like this:
JACK: "Annie, let me explain something to you. Whenever you come in here and interrupt me, you're breaking my concentration. You're distracting me. And it will then take me time to get back to where I was. You understand?" ANNIE: "Understand? UNDERSTAND? I will tell you "what I understand!" I go out of my way for you! I do everything to try and make you happy. I feed you, I clean you, I dress you, and what thanks do I get? "Oh, you bought the wrong paper, Annie, I can't write on this paper, Annie!" Well, I'll get your stupid paper but you just better start showing me a little appreciation around here, Mr. MAN!" JACK: "Now, we're going to make a new rule. When you come in here and you hear me typing [types] or whether you DON'T hear me typing, or whatever the F you hear me doing; when I'm in here, it means that I am working, THAT means don't come in. Now, do you think you can handle that?" ANNIE: "I thought you were good Jack... but you're not good. You're just another lying ol' dirty birdy."
Just a thought, forgive me for prattling away and making everything all oogy, here's the dvd features.
COLLECTOR'S EDITION DVD FEATURES: (A reviewer listed them above but in case they got lost in the review shuffle here they are again) First if your like me and like a nice pristine transfer and good sound the dvd is a definite and worthwhile upgrade. The picture quality far surpassed the older version on dvd and I own both. Also on the sound there was no Dolby Digital 5.1 on the old version and on the Collector's edition there is. SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commnt by Rob Reiner and screenwriter William Goldman Misery loves company featurette, Marc Shaiman's musical Misery tour featurette Diagnosing Annie Wilkes featurette, Advice for stalked feature, profile of a stalker feature, celebrity stalker feature and anti stalking laws feature.
This is a must for any horror fan to add to their collection. It is already a classic and is the type of horror that gives you that warm, glad to be inside, tucked into bed feeling if you can avoid getting hobbled. A great watch for Halloween. Enjoy!"
Loaded With Thrills and Suspense
Jeffrey T. Munson | Dixon, IL | 01/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"James Caan, Richard Farnsworth, and Kathy Bates star in this thrilling adaptation of Stephen King's excellent novel. Caan stars as Paul Sheldon, a very successful author of the "Misery Chastain" series of books. After finishing his latest installment of his series, he sets off to deliver the manuscript to his editor. Unfortunately, he encounters a terrible snowstorm, and his car slides off the road and over a cliff. He is trapped inside with numerous injuries and unable to escape.
Fortunately for Paul, Annie Wilkes (Bates) comes along and pries his car door open with a crowbar and frees him. Annie takes Paul to her house to nurse him back to health. As Paul is beginning to convalesce, Annie reveals that she is his "number one fan", and has read every book in the Misery series several times over. She also has authgraphed pictures of Paul throughout her house. At first, Paul is flattered by Annie's kindness, but he also suspects something is wrong with this good samaritan.
Annie also managed to retrieve Paul's manuscript from the wreckage, and she begs Paul to let her read it. After a while, he relents. But after reading it, Annie goes completely nuts because Paul has killed off Misery. Paul now realizes that Annie is insane and the only way for him to survive is to give in to her wishes and write a new novel which brings Misery back to life.
Meanwhile, the local sheriff (Farnsworth) has become aware of Paul's disappearance and has begun an investigation into his whereabouts.
Paul continues to work on his new novel and as he writes, he's realizing that he's creating his best work yet. However, he still has Annie to deal with. He's continually locked up in his room, but he does manage to unlock his door by using a paper clip in the lock. He discovers many things about Annie, including her scrapbook, which has newpaper clippings implicating her in a hospital baby death scandal.
Unfortunately for Paul, Annie figures out that he has been out of his room, and she takes measures to ensure he won't leave again, courtesy of a piece of wood and a large sledgehammer. Will Paul be able to escape? Will the sheriff uncover the truth about Annie before its too late?
This is an excellent movie. The plot is thrilling and will keep you on edge throughout the movie. James Caan and Richard Farnsworth give solid performances, but Kathy Bates is truly the star of this film. Her portrayal of the obsessed "number one fan" is impeccable. She won the Academy Award for her performance in this movie. I highly recommend this thrilling and suspenseful film. Watch and see how one person's admiration of another can turn into a fatal obsession."
A Real Thriller
Jay | USA | 10/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Misery is one of the best in the horror/suspense genre. I have to say I don't think I've seen a better movie that was based off of a book. Usually the book is so good and the movie is sub par, but this one is the exception.
The story begins as writer Paul Sheldon(James Cann)crashes in car while driving in a blizzard. He awakes from being unconscious to find himself in the home and care of a very obsessed fan(Kathy Bates). As he gets better he begins to realize his caretaker has no intention on letting him go anywhere.
Exceptional thriller which anyone would enjoy. I completely recommend Misery especially if you are a Steven King fan."