Romance author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) longs for parting with Misery. Sheldon's plucky heroine of seven novels has delivered Sheldon fame and fortune and recognition beyond the average writer's dreams, but she is also interminably linked to him. Determined to escape an eternal role as dimestore novelist, he kills her off in the eighth novel and heads to his New England cabin to work on his own Great American Novel. Upon completion, Sheldon excitedly sets out for his New York City publisher in the midst of a raging blizzard and within minutes veers into a desolate snowbank. From the brink of death, he is rescued from the snow by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), who just so happens to be Misery's self-professed biggest fan. At first, she nurses him back to health in her remote cabin, telling him the roads and phones are knocked out by the storm, fawning over his literary accomplishments. However, things change when she purchases his eighth Misery book and reaches the point of Misery's death. Annie's psychotic underbelly swiftly surfaces as the unfortunate author is held clandestinely captive in her home. Meanwhile, a wily small-town sheriff (Richard Farnsworth) circles in....
Director Rob Reiner's adaptation of Stephen King's novel is an eerie tale of obsessiveness and isolation. The film features an excellent turn by Caan and an Oscar-winning performance by Bates.
1990 - Academy Awards - Best Actress Winner
Lauren Bacall - Actress, KEY LARGO
Betty Joan Perske - Actress, KEY LARGO
James Caan - American Director, actor, THE GODFATHER (1972)
Kathy Bates - Oscar winning actress, MISERY
Richard Farnsworth - American Actor
Dick Farnsworth - American Actor
Rob Reiner - American Director/Actor
Frances Sternhagen - American Supporting Actress
William Goldman - American Screenwriter
Stephen King - Best-selling horror novelist, THE STAND miniseries (1994)
Richard Bachman - Best-selling horror novelist, THE STAND miniseries (1994)
In this chilling adaptation of a Stephen King story, a romance novelist loses control of his car during a snowstorm and is rescued by a nurse who happens to be his "number one fan." Recovering in her home, he turns from patient to prisoner as his savior proves to be psychotically deranged.
Theatrical release: November 30, 1990. Shot in Reno and Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and Los Angeles, California. MISERY is director Rob Reiner's second Stephen King adaptation. The first was the 1986 film STAND BY ME, based on the short story "The Body." Estimated budget: $21 million. Second unit photography began in late January 1990 and principal shooting began on February 20, 1990, completing May 31, 1990. Richard Farnsworth would go on to give an acclaimed performance in David Lynch's THE STRAIGHT STORY shortly before his death in 2000.
"...[Reiner] adopts Hitchcockian techniques which he uses to flawless effect..." - 05/01/1991 Sight and Sound, p.55-6
"...MISERY is a robust audience-participation pic..." -- 3 out of 4 stars - 11/30/1990 USA Today, p.4D
"...A breakthrough of sorts....[Bates] gives a genuinely funny performance..." - 11/30/1990 New York Times, p.C1
"...[Bates] illuminates an imagined extreme of heartland dementia that's far scarier than any of the undead creations that pepper King's other works..." -- Rating: B+ - 11/10/1995 Entertainment Weekly, pp.72-3
"...[Caan] is often marvelous..." - 11/30/1990 Los Angeles Times, p.F1
"Bates perfectly balances comedy and cruelty." - 04/01/2004 Premiere, p.58
"Bates and Caan simply dominate. MISERY builds economically to a climactic fight in which every scratch, ding, and wallop feels completely earned." -- Grade: B+ - 10/05/2007 Entertainment Weekly, p.57
4 stars out of 5 -- "Confining most of the tortuous tension to just two people and one room, it's director Rob Reiner's darkest hour." - 11/01/2012 Total Film