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Based on the Stephen King novel, Misery casts James Caan as romance writer Paul Sheldon. After a car accident, Sheldon is trapped in his vehicle in the middle of a blizzard; on the brink of death, he is rescued by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), a former nurse who carries the writer to her home to recover. It turns out that Annie is a huge fan of Sheldon's work, which consists of a series of romance novels about a character named Misery Chastain; Paul, wanting to explore more serious work, has decided to kill Misery in order to write a raw, autobiographical book about life on the streets.… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Bates turns Wilkes into the nastiest nurse to reach the screen since Louise Fletcher tormented Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
‑ Desmond Ryan, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Bates has a field day with her role, creating a quirky, memorable object of hate."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Among other things, Misery emerges as a great picture of fan obsession, and of that curious mix of hero-worship and hero-bashing personified in supermarket tabloids and trash TV."
‑ John Wooley, Tulsa World
"Misery should be a big hit. It deserves to be."
‑ Chauncey Mabe, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"A quality film of suspense and manipulation."
‑ Kelly Kessler, Common Sense Media
"Like any good work of popular culture, Rob Reiner's film of Stephen King's best-selling book Misery functions on more than one level."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune
"A skillfully pared-down (if psychologically thin) horror thriller."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Caan and Bates capture the movie's roguish spirit perfectly."
‑ Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News
"It's Kathy Bates' Oscar-winning turn as a smiling psychopath that still provides the film's cold, cold heart and makes for one of cinema's greatest, friendliest, monsters."
‑ , Total Film
"Like Stand By Me, Misery can't help but broaden the audience for movies based on Stephen King's work."
‑ Steve Newton, Georgia Straight
"Popular moviemaking -- elegantly economical, artlessly artful -- doesn't get much better than this."
‑ Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
"Reiner captures just the right level of physical tension, but for the most part wisely emphasises the mental duels. Terrific."
‑ Colette Maude, Time Out
"This all would have been perfect for a half-hour TV show or one of those horror anthology films. As it is, even the resourceful Reiner and Goldman are hard put to keep things going until the inevitable final clash."
‑ Ralph Novak, People Magazine
"Unfortunately, what could have been a seamless psychological thriller is interrupted by violence that's as gratuitous as it is sadistic."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"Director Rob Reiner creates an atmosphere of tense horror wrapped around rich dialogue ("Cockadoodie dirty birdie!"), and in the process, he gets sterling performances from Caan and Bates."
‑ Christopher Smith, Bangor Daily News (Maine)
More reviews for Misery on Rotten Tomatoes

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