Monday, 28 September 2015


“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” ― Thomas Mann

We watched an old movie the other day and enjoyed it quite a lot as it was a tense psychological thriller with two sterling performances. It was the 1990 Rob Reiner movie “Misery” starring James Caan, Kathy Bates and Richard Farnsworth. William Goldman wrote the screenplay, based on a Stephen King novel. Although Stephen King often writes novels on supernatural themes, this one is a believable, “real-life” scenario, which is quite entertaining and keeping the reader/viewer guessing as to what is going to happen next.

The plot revolves around author Paul Sheldon (Caan), who has made his fame by writing best sellers, especially his series of novels called “Misery”. The books are about a woman in the old days who goes through difficult times and shares her pain and strength with the readers. When Sheldon finishes his last “Misery” book, he decides to celebrate and heads back home for his daughter’s birthday. On the way there a terrible blizzard cause him to have a nasty car accident, from which he is saved by Annie (Bates). He wakes up in a bedroom with his legs badly broken, but hears a soft, charming voice reassuring him: “You're going to be just fine. I’m your number one fan!”.

Annie tells Sheldon she is a nurse and she will look after him until the storm abates and an ambulance can come for him. Annie is the perfect nurse until she reads Sheldon’s last “Misery” book, which infuriates her as she finds out that he’s killing off Misery and continuing onto new, more dramatic stories. She forces the author to write a new “Misery” book where the heroine is resurrected. Sheldon finds he now has to satisfy every whim of his captor if he is to stay alive. It becomes apparent that Annie is quite paranoid and he tries to escape. However, Annie seems to be a step ahead of him every time…

Rob Reiner directs this film at a brisk and taut pace, with tension and jim-jams kept at a high level throughout, making it an excellent thriller. Reiner also directed another Stephen King novel made into an excellent movie, “Stand by Me” (1986) so this was a good follow-up.

What makes the movie are the stellar performances, especially the one by Kathy Bates as the paranoid Annie. She won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in “Misery” at the 63rd Academy Awards in 1991. And a very well-deserved win it was too! This must really be one of her finest performances, displaying her acting talents to perfection and giving a performance with the nuances of a very complex character. James Caan work well with Bates and manages to be convincing as the powerless injured author at the mercy of his captor.

The film contains some really nightmarish scenes and can shock some sensitive viewers because of the violence it depicts, but even in the most horrible such scene, we found ourselves chuckling as there is humour there as well. Nevertheless, be warned if your liver is tinged lily-white. Great film to watch with a big tub of popcorn!


  1. One of my fave performances from excellent actress Kathy Bates! Good film.

  2. Great movie and a great book.