Note : this review is my contribution to The Lauren Bacall blogathon hosted by In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood.
Misery (Rob Reiner, 1990)
Few days after being rescued and sheltered from a car crash caused by a blizzard by a nurse who claims to be his number one fan, a well-known author begins suspecting the mental health of his savior.
Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is a widely known best-selling author who just finished his more recent novel in a remote cabin in the Colorado. Being very superstitious he always has the same routine when he finishes a write-up and he takes his Mustang on the road just before a huge snowstorm. Obviously, he leaves the road and is badly hurt but someone saw him and saves him from a certain death. It is nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) who is also her number one fan. Slowly we understand that she keeps him from the rest of the world and he is hers. She forces him to destroy his latest novel and asks him to write a new Misery novel. Slowly recovering from his accident, Sheldon had both legs broken at several places and an arm in bad shape too. He is reduced to a wheel chair for a moment. Annie also locks his room and quickly becomes aggressive and dangerous. Paul knows he’ll have to escape if he wants to survive.
Adapted from the Stephen King novel of the same name, Misery is another book about an author who is trapped in a dangerous situation. First, Misery, the novel is far from being King’s best work. However, the adaptation is nicely done and is pretty much taking the same storyline from the original material. The wintry settings and the isolation of Sheldon is well done as the direction of actors is tremendous. Bates, who won an Academy Award for her part is convincing as the bipolar nurse gone wrong. This is a nice thriller that has all the right elements to be a stressful moment of creation and craziness.
On the Lauren Bacall side, her part as Paul’s agent is pretty small and she is the glue that sticks him to reality and the only person to seem to care about his life. She also completes the circle with Paul with the opening and the closing of the film. Her presence reminds us of the old Hollywood in a movie that will have many copies and followers.
Misery is one of these movies that once you start watching you can’t stop and it passes pretty fast. The story gets you and the acting makes you believe in it. Despite the feeling of déjà vu that the many clones provoked, Misery is sheer entertainment and a good time.