Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Misery, based on the novel by Stephen King: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Paul Sheldon is a famous writer, known for his Victorian-era romance novels about Misery.  These novels were so popular that, in order to focus on his “more serious” works he purposely kills off Misery in the final novel just to be rid of her.

After completing his latest novel, an untitled piece that he believes will launch his career in a more serious direction, he celebrates and then takes off for his home in New York City.  When an unexpected blizzard hits the area, Paul runs his car off the road and into a ravine, wrecking his legs…but miraculously not killing himself.

He is rescued by a strange woman named Annie Wilkes, who is a nurse that lives out in the country.  As she claims to want to nurse him back to health and will take him into the hospital when the roads clear things begin to change.  Paul realizes that Annie is not what she seems.  His biggest fan, sure, but what happens when your biggest fan isn’t happy with the ending of your latest book about Misery?  And how much worse can things get when that person…isn’t exactly stable…?

General Information:

-Genre: Psychological Horror, Psychological Thriller, Horror

-Creator: based on the novel by Stephen King

-Length: 107 minutes

-Rating: R (for severe violence and gore, moderate profanity, mild use of alcohol and smoking, mild use of drugs in a medical context, severe frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Vudu (for purchase), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Frances Sternhagen, Richard Farnsworth, Lauren Bacall

-Page of Reference in RP1: 63

Review (contains spoilers):

I will say it probably as many times as there are Stephen King novels translated into film, but his work is so much better as movies in my opinion.

Now having watched the movie and read the book I can say this.  This film is nearly perfect.  Its one of those situations where you can watch the movie and you’ve basically read the book.  Which, one, doesn’t happen often, and two, when it does the movie is often bogged down in superfluous details and is boring.

Not the case here.

The material that this movie was pulled from was very detailed and the crew and director did an excellent job with everything.  The house, the setting, the characters…all how you would picture them when you read the book.

And Kathy Bates performance is just INCREDIBLE.

She absolutely nails the bi-polar back and forth that can happen in someone who isn’t medicated and can go from very high manic moments to the extreme lows of depression.  She was able to capture the flip on a dime nature of the character of Annie Wilkes.  There are moments where she is sweet as pie….then there is the scene where she hobbles him.  Cool and calm.  Absolutely perfect.

The things I wish the film had kept in which would have given it five stars in my mind:

  • The actual hobbling from the book where Annie cuts Paul’s entire foot off of his leg.
  • More of the hallucinations that Paul has throughout the book
  • The death of the young police officer and then the visits from several police officers to add to the suspense of finding Paul
  • And the final hallucination of Annie in Paul’s apartment with the ax….

Just a few extra minutes and a few extra details would have gotten this to a five-star film.  But as is Kathy Bates performance sealed the deal of this film being a must watch.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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