Misery is a 1990 American psychological horror / thriller film, based on the 1987 novel of the same name by Stephen King. Directed by Rob Reiner, the film received critical acclaim for Kathy Bates' performance as the psychopathic Annie Wilkes. Bates won both the Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe. The film was ranked #12 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
Famed novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is the author of romance novels involving the character Misery Chastain. After finishing the manuscript of his latest novel, he departs from Silver Creek, Colorado to New York, but he is caught in a blizzard and his car goes off the road. He is rescued by nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) and brought to her remote home. Both of Paul's legs are broken, and he has a dislocated shoulder, leaving him bedridden and largely unable to move. Annie claims she is his number one fan, and goes on and on about how she cherishes Paul and his novels. To her delight, Paul lets her read his new novel but she later admits that she disagrees with its use of profanity. While she is feeding him, she loses her temper and spills soup onto him, but regains control and apologizes calmly. Annie then buys a copy of Paul's latest book, Misery's Child, which Paul intends to be the final Misery novel. After finishing Misery's Child and learning that he has "killed off" Misery in this story, Annie flies into a rage, almost smashing a small table on Paul's head. She reveals that she never contacted the hospital, or anyone Paul knows as she earlier claimed to have done. Annie leaves and Paul tries to escape his room, but she has locked the door. The next morning, Annie makes Paul burn his latest manuscript, insisting he write a new Misery novel instead entitled Misery's Return in which he brings the character back to life. During the process of writing the new novel, Paul attempts to escape the house whenever Annie travels to town after turning a hairpin into a makeshift key. After stockpiling his painkillers, Paul attempts to drug Annie during a candlelit dinner but his attempt is foiled when Annie accidentally spills her drugged wine glass. During another escape attempt, Paul finds a scrapbook filled with newspaper clippings about his disappearance and Annie's past, finding out that she was suspected in and tried for the deaths of several infants. Later, Annie drugs Paul and straps him to the bed. When he wakes, she tells him that she knows he's left his room in her absence and found out he planned to kill her. She then breaks his ankles with a sledgehammer in an act of "hobbling". Meanwhile, the local Sheriff (Richard Farnsworth) has taken an interest in the missing writer, and pays a visit to Annie prompted by the discovery of a quote she used from a Misery book during her trial years earlier. While there, he discovers Paul has been drugged and hidden in the basement. However, Annie shoots and kills him. Annie tells Paul that the end has come and they must die together. Paul agrees, asking only that he can finish the novel so they can "give Misery back to the world". As Paul finishes the last chapter, he tells Annie to get a cigarette with a match and a glass of champagne. As he sends her to get a second glass, he drenches the book with lighter fluid. When she returns, he sets the book on fire. As she tries to put out the fire, Paul bashes her in the head with the typewriter. The two struggle; Paul gains the upper hand and trips Annie, causing her to land head-first onto the typewriter. As Paul escapes his room, Annie lunges on top of him and he strikes her in the head with a small steel pig statue, killing her. Eighteen months later, Paul (now able to walk again with the help of a cane) meets with his publishing agent Marsha (Lauren Bacall) in a restaurant, discussing his first non-Misery novel, titled The Higher Education of J. Philip Stone, which has become a success. His agent asks if he wants to write a non-fiction book about his time with Annie, but Paul states it would not be good for him. He then sees a vision of Annie as a waitress but it turns out to be someone else. The waitress claims that she is his number one fan, to which Paul responds, "That's very sweet of you."