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Misery (film)

Misery (film)

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Encyclopedia
Misery is a 1990 American Psychological Horror
Psychological horror
Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror fiction that relies on character fears, guilt, beliefs, eerie sound effects, relevant music and emotional instability to build tension and further the plot...

 Film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 based on Stephen King
Stephen King
Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books...

's 1987
1987 in literature
The year 1987 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*Tom Wolfe was paid $5 million for the film rights to his novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, the most ever earned by an author, at the time.-Fiction:...

 novel of the same name. Directed by Rob Reiner
Rob Reiner
Robert "Rob" Reiner is an American actor, director, producer, writer, and political activist.As an actor, Reiner first came to national prominence as Archie and Edith Bunker's son-in-law, Michael "Meathead" Stivic, on All in the Family. That role earned him two Emmy Awards during the 1970s...

, the film received critical acclaim for Kathy Bates
Kathy Bates
Kathleen Doyle "Kathy" Bates is an American actress and director.After several small roles in film and television, Bates rose to prominence with her performance in Misery , for which she won both the Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe...

' performance as the psychopathic Annie Wilkes
Annie Wilkes
Anne Marie Wilkes Dugan, usually known as Annie Wilkes, is a fictional character and the antagonist/main villain in the 1987 novel Misery, by Stephen King. In the 1990 film adaptation of the novel, Annie Wilkes was portrayed by Kathy Bates, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal...

. The film was ranked #12 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments
100 Scariest Movie Moments
The 100 Scariest Movie Moments is a television documentary miniseries that first aired in late October 2004 on Bravo. Aired in five 60-minute segments, the miniseries counts down what producer Anthony Timpone, writer Patrick Moses, and director Kevin Kaufman have determined as the 100 most...

.

Bates won the Academy Award for Best Actress
Academy Award for Best Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

 for her role as Annie Wilkes in Misery.

Plot


Famed novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan
James Caan
James Caan is an American actor. He is best known for his starring roles in The Godfather, Thief, Misery, A Bridge Too Far, Brian's Song, Rollerball, Kiss Me Goodbye, Elf, and El Dorado...

) is the author of a successful series of novels involving a character called Misery Chastain. But Paul wants to branch out and has just finished the manuscript of a new unrelated novel. He departs from Silver Creek, Colorado
Silver Creek, Colorado
Silver Creek is a mining ghost town in Clear Creek County, Colorado, USA. The town never had a post office of its own, but received its mail via the Lawson post office. The town is only accessible via unimproved road...

 to head west but is caught in a blizzard and his car goes off the road. He is rescued by a nurse, Annie Wilkes
Annie Wilkes
Anne Marie Wilkes Dugan, usually known as Annie Wilkes, is a fictional character and the antagonist/main villain in the 1987 novel Misery, by Stephen King. In the 1990 film adaptation of the novel, Annie Wilkes was portrayed by Kathy Bates, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal...

 (Kathy Bates
Kathy Bates
Kathleen Doyle "Kathy" Bates is an American actress and director.After several small roles in film and television, Bates rose to prominence with her performance in Misery , for which she won both the Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe...

), and brought to her remote home. Both of Paul's legs are broken and he has a dislocated shoulder, so he is bedridden and incapacitated. Annie claims she is his 'number one fan' and talks a lot about him and his novels. She is happy when Paul lets her read his new novel, but later admits she disliked the excessive swearing. While feeding him, she is angered and spills soup on him but regains control and apologizes. She buys a copy of Paul's latest book, Misery's Child, but after learning that he has "killed off" Misery, Annie flies into a rage, almost smashing a table on Paul's head. She reveals that nobody knows where he is (contradicting what she had earlier told him). Annie leaves and Paul tries to escape from his room, but she has locked the door.

The next morning, Annie makes Paul burn his latest manuscript. When he is well enough to get out of bed, she insists he write a new novel entitled Misery's Return in which he brings the character back to life. Paul reluctantly does, believing Annie might kill him otherwise. However, having found a means of escaping his room, he sneaks out whenever Annie is away and begins to stockpile his painkillers. He tries to kill Annie during a candlelit dinner, but is foiled when she accidentally spills her drugged wine. During another escape attempt, Paul finds a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about his disappearance and Annie's past. He discovers that she was suspected and tried for several infants' deaths. Later, Annie drugs Paul and straps him to the bed. When he wakes, she tells him that she knows he's been out of his room and breaks his ankles with a sledgehammer in an act of "hobbling".

Meanwhile, the local Sheriff (Richard Farnsworth
Richard Farnsworth
Richard W. Farnsworth was an American actor and stuntman. His film career began in 1937; however, he achieved his greatest success for his performances in The Grey Fox and The Straight Story , for which he received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor.- Early life :Farnsworth was born...

) is investigating Paul's disappearance and visits Annie, prompted by discovering a quote she used from a Misery book during her trial years earlier. While there, he finds that Paul has been drugged and hidden in the basement. Annie shoots and kills him; she tells Paul that they must die together. He agrees, but says he wants to finish the novel and "give Misery back to the world". When the book is done, he tells Annie it was his habit after ending a novel to have a cigarette and a glass of champagne. Later, he sends her to get a second glass. When Annie returns, he sets the book on fire. She tries to put out the fire, but Paul hits her head with the typewriter. Annie shoots him in the shoulder and he lunges at her. During the ensuing fight, Paul trips Annie, causing her to land head-first on the typewriter. Annie lunges at him, but he strikes her over the head with a small steel pig statue, killing her.

Eighteen months later, Paul (now walking with a cane) meets his publishing agent Marsha (Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall is an American film and stage actress and model, known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks.She first emerged as leading lady in the Humphrey Bogart film To Have And Have Not and continued on in the film noir genre, with appearances in The Big Sleep and Dark Passage ,...

) in a restaurant and discusses his first non-Misery novel, titled The Higher Education of J. Philip Stone, which has become a success. Marsha asks if he wants to write a non-fiction book about his captivity, but Paul is non-committal. While at the restaurant, he sees a waitress whom he briefly imagines as Annie. The waitress claims she is his 'number one fan', to which Paul responds, "That's very sweet of you."

Cast

  • James Caan
    James Caan
    James Caan is an American actor. He is best known for his starring roles in The Godfather, Thief, Misery, A Bridge Too Far, Brian's Song, Rollerball, Kiss Me Goodbye, Elf, and El Dorado...

     as Paul Sheldon
  • Kathy Bates
    Kathy Bates
    Kathleen Doyle "Kathy" Bates is an American actress and director.After several small roles in film and television, Bates rose to prominence with her performance in Misery , for which she won both the Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe...

     as Annie Wilkes
    Annie Wilkes
    Anne Marie Wilkes Dugan, usually known as Annie Wilkes, is a fictional character and the antagonist/main villain in the 1987 novel Misery, by Stephen King. In the 1990 film adaptation of the novel, Annie Wilkes was portrayed by Kathy Bates, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal...

  • Richard Farnsworth
    Richard Farnsworth
    Richard W. Farnsworth was an American actor and stuntman. His film career began in 1937; however, he achieved his greatest success for his performances in The Grey Fox and The Straight Story , for which he received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor.- Early life :Farnsworth was born...

     as Buster
  • Frances Sternhagen
    Frances Sternhagen
    Frances Hussey Sternhagen is an American actress. Sternhagen has appeared on and off Broadway, in movies, and on TV since the 1950s.-Personal life:...

     as Virginia
  • Lauren Bacall
    Lauren Bacall
    Lauren Bacall is an American film and stage actress and model, known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks.She first emerged as leading lady in the Humphrey Bogart film To Have And Have Not and continued on in the film noir genre, with appearances in The Big Sleep and Dark Passage ,...

     as Marcia Sindell
  • Graham Jarvis
    Graham Jarvis
    Graham Jarvis was a Canadian character actor in US films and TV from the 1960s.Born in Toronto, Jarvis attended Williams College before moving to New York to pursue a career in theater...

     as Libby
  • Jerry Potter as Pete
  • Rob Reiner
    Rob Reiner
    Robert "Rob" Reiner is an American actor, director, producer, writer, and political activist.As an actor, Reiner first came to national prominence as Archie and Edith Bunker's son-in-law, Michael "Meathead" Stivic, on All in the Family. That role earned him two Emmy Awards during the 1970s...

     as Helicopter pilot
  • J. T. Walsh
    J. T. Walsh
    James Thomas Patrick "J. T." Walsh was an American character actor. He appeared in many well-known films, including Nixon, Hoffa, A Few Good Men, Backdraft, Miracle on 34th Street, Breakdown, and Good Morning, Vietnam.Walsh was known for his roles as "quietly sinister white-collar sleazeballs"...

     (uncredited) as State Trooper Sherman Douglas

Awards

  • Academy Award (1990): Best Actress in a Leading Role
    Academy Award for Best Actress
    Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

     - Kathy Bates
    Kathy Bates
    Kathleen Doyle "Kathy" Bates is an American actress and director.After several small roles in film and television, Bates rose to prominence with her performance in Misery , for which she won both the Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe...

  • Golden Globe (1990): Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
    Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
    The Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture - Drama was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1951...

     - Kathy Bates
  • CFCA Award (1990): Best Actress
    Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
    The Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress is an annual award given by the Chicago Film Critics Association.-1980s:-1990s:-2000s:-2010s:-References:...

     - Kathy Bates

Reception


Misery received almost universally positive reviews; on the critic website Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

, the film currently holds a 90% "fresh" rating; the consensus states, "Elevated by standout performances from James Caan and Kathy Bates
Kathy Bates
Kathleen Doyle "Kathy" Bates is an American actress and director.After several small roles in film and television, Bates rose to prominence with her performance in Misery , for which she won both the Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe...

, this taut and frightening film is one of the best Stephen King
Stephen King
Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books...

 adaptations to date."

Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 liked the film, stating, "It is a good story, a natural, and it grabs us."

The genre magazine Bloody Disgusting
Bloody Disgusting
Bloody Disgusting is a website that covers horror movies with reviews, interviews and news. It is currently run by Brad Miska, and Tom Owen. According to one source, the site has 1.5 million unique visitors and 20 million page views each month. It is widely considered to be the "world's most...

ranked Misery fourth place in its list of "10 Claustrophobic Horror Films".

King himself has stated that Misery is one of his favorite film adaptation
Film adaptation
Film adaptation is the transfer of a written work to a feature film. It is a type of derivative work.A common form of film adaptation is the use of a novel as the basis of a feature film, but film adaptation includes the use of non-fiction , autobiography, comic book, scripture, plays, and even...

s, in his collection "Stephen King Goes to the Movies
Stephen King Goes to the Movies
Stephen King Goes to the Movies is a short story collection by Stephen King, released in paperback on January 20, 2009. It contains five previously collected pieces of short fiction that have been adapted to popular films, each with a short introduction by the author written specially for this book...

".

International Remake


The film was remade in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 as a Tamil
Tamil cinema
Tamil cinema is the film industry based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, dedicated to the production of films in the Tamil language. It is based in Chennai's Kodambakkam district, where several South Indian film production companies are headquartered...

 film called Julie Ganapathi
Julie Ganapathi
Julie Ganapathi is a 2003 South Indian motion picture. It is a remake of the 1990 American film Misery, itself an adaptation of the Stephen King novel.-Plot:...

.

Music


The film's score
Film score
A film score is original music written specifically to accompany a film, forming part of the film's soundtrack, which also usually includes dialogue and sound effects...

 was composed by Marc Shaiman
Marc Shaiman
Marc Shaiman is an American composer, lyricist, arranger, and performer for films, television, and theatre. He is perhaps best known for writing the music and co-writing the lyrics for the Broadway musical version of the cult John Waters film Hairspray, for which Shaiman won Tony and Grammy...

.

Soundtrack listing
  1. "Number One Fan"
  2. "She Can't Be Dead"
  3. "Open House"
  4. "Go to Your Room"
  5. "Buster's Last Stand"
  6. "Misery's Return"

External links