Bruce Forer
August 02, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Misery

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
107 minutes
performer
Kathy Bates, James Caan, Lauren Bacall, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen
director
Rob Reiner
Producers
Castle Rock Productions
distributor
Columbia Pictures
author
William Goldman
genre
Drama, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an A-

Seen strictly as a quasi-horror thriller, Misery should keep you on the edge of the couch without grossing you out. And as a nifty piece of stylized filmmaking, which literalizes the stereotype of the tortured artist, it won’t insult your intelligence or good taste, either. In this film version of the Stephen King novel, James Caan is Paul Sheldon, a commercially successful writer of formula romance novels who goes to the Colorado Rockies to write a real book for a change. After a car crash, he is nursed to health/taken prisoner by his ”No. 1 fan,” world-class psychopath Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates, who picked up an Oscar for her splendid performance). His battle to survive the violent schizophrenic mood swings of his tormentor provide the film with an eerie and intellectually engaging terror. You keep wondering, ”What would I do if I were Paul?” Sharply focused and intimate, Misery works even better on the small screen. A-

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