the fresh films reviews

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Misery (1990)

Director:
Rob Reiner
COUNTRY
USA
GENRE
Horror/Thriller

NORWEGIAN TITLE
Misery kidnappet

RUNNING TIME
107 minutes
Producers:
Andrew Scheinmann
Rob Reiner
Screenplay:
William Golding
Based on the novel by:
Stephen King


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Paul Sheldon James Caan
Annie Wilkes Kathy Bates
Sheriff Buster Richard Farnsworth
Virginia Frances Sternhagen
Marcia Sindell Lauren Bacall -

 

Review

Rob Reiner took good care of Stephen King's young characters in the coming-of-age drama Stand By Me in 1986. And so it was probably a deciding factor for King to finally allow his novel "Misery" to be adapted to the big screen that Reiner signed on as director. The lacking success of King's previous screenwriting efforts led the producers to William Golding for the adaptation. And although Golding delivered an effective script which kept in line with the plot of the book, he arguably missed the most vital part: getting under Paul Sheldon's skin, making us feel his pain, his suffering and his fear. In that respect, Reiner's film only grazes the surface, and a somewhat offhand James Caan doesn't help this cause. That being said, the perversity and intensity of the novel is retained and made aptly cinematic by Reiner, who utilizes and gets the best out of Kathy Bates in the lead. Her constant shifts between feelings of adoration and disgust for Paul, between wanting to control him and wanting to be swept off her feet by him like an unfledged teenager, make her performance as Annie Wilkes intriguing, chilling and hilarious at the same time. She deserves her canonical status as one of the great movie villains. There are also delightful performances by the wonderful Richard Farnsworth and King favourite Frances Sternhagen as the town's ageing sheriff and his wife.

Re-reviewed 29.09.2023 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Re-reviewed 15.09.2006 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review 27.6.1996 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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